President Putin has ordered Russian troops to maintain peace in eastern Ukraine's two breakaway regions.
This came after he signed a decree to officially recognize the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent entities.
He made the announcement during a live televised national address that lasted for almost one hour.
In this regard, I consider it necessary to make a long overdue decision:
to immediately recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Luhansk People's Republic.
I ask the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation to support this decision and then to ratify the treaty of friendship and mutual assistance with both republics.
These two documents will be readied and signed as soon as possible.
Shortly after, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the nation
saying Ukraine's international borders are to "remain as such" despite Russia's "declarations and threats".
In response to the decree, President Joe Biden signed an executive order placing sanctions on the separatist regions.