Russia has moved quickly to secure its hold on Ukraine’s rebel regions following the recognition of their independence with bills allowing the deployment of troops there in a challenge to the West.
The agreements are set to be quickly rubber-stamped by the Kremlin-controlled parliament and may set the stage for Russia to move deeper into Ukraine as the U.S. and its allies have feared.
Western governments were planning to announce sanctions against Moscow on Tuesday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision Monday to recognize the rebel regions as independent states follows a nearly eight-year old separatist conflict that has killed more than 14,000.
Putin’s move formalizes Russia’s hold on the regions and gives it a free hand to deploy its forces there.