The US administration in Washington has hardened its tone towards Moscow. For the first time, the White House openly accuses the Russians of starting another invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
“We believe this is, yes, the start of an invasion,” said a top White House official. He responds to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement to send troops to eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting the Ukrainian army. Putin on Monday recognized the two renegade regions there as independent states, and he also wants to support them militarily.
The United States is the first Western country to label Russian operations as an invasion, observers say. The White House is opening the door to stricter sanctions with the move. Penalties were already announced for Russia’s recognition of the two so-called People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously said that the Russians appear to be planning a large-scale invasion of Ukraine.