Vladimir Putin has been given permission to use military force outside Russia from Russia's upper house of parliament.
The Associated Press has reported that "Russian lawmakers on Tuesday authorized President Vladimir Putin to use military force outside the country."
It is thought that this could "pave the way for a broader attack on Ukraine", according to Sky News Security and Defence editor Deborah Haynes.
Members of Russia’s upper house which is known as the Federation Council voted unanimously to allow Putin to use military force outside the country.
BREAKING: Russia’s upper house of parliament has given President Vladimir Putin permission to use military force outside Russia, @AP reports. This could pave the way for a broader attack on Ukraine
— Deborah Haynes (@haynesdeborah) February 22, 2022
This is understood to be "formalizing a Russian military deployment to the rebel regions, where an eight-year conflict has killed nearly 14,000 people," the Associated Press says.
Following the vote, President Putin laid out three conditions to end the crisis that threatens an all-out European war.
Putin stipulated that the crisis could be resolved if:
Kyiv recognised Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014
Renounces its bid to join NATO
And partially demilitarizes
So far, the West has said that the annexation of Crimea would be a violation of international law and has previously rejected permanently barring Ukraine from NATO.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss urges British nationals to leave Ukraine
The news comes after Foreign Secretary Liz Truss urged British nationals still in Ukraine to leave as soon as possible on commercial flights "while they are still available".
Earlier this month the Foreign Office advised British nationals to leave Ukraine and now Mrs Truss has reiterated that message as tensions continue to rise.
Boris Johnson sends grave warning to Vladimir Putin
Boris Johnson is set to impose sanctions on Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine as independent states in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Mr Johnson warned that President Putin had “gravely miscalculated” the situation.
He said: “He believes that Ukraine has no real right to exist as a sovereign, independent country.
“But that goes against everything that we struggled to achieve at the end of the Cold War, it goes against the aspirations of the Ukrainian people.
“The most difficult thing now for Vladimir Putin in prosecuting this war… he will come up against something that I think will be very hard for him to beat, and that is the Ukrainian sense of national pride and their determination to defend their country and to fight for it.”
Foreign Affairs Committee presses UK Government for not imposing harsher sanctions
However, the Conservative chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee pressed the Government on why they did not go further on sanctions against Russia.
Mr Tom Tugendhat said: “I welcome the direction that we’ve taken, but I find myself, I’m afraid along with many others on all sides of this House, asking why not more? Why not further?
“Because what we’re doing now is we are in many ways using the actions of a hostile state in eastern Ukraine to justify something that we should have done years ago. The UK sadly has for too long been an avenue for money laundering, for despots and criminals around the world. For too long, we have seen our institutions, our City, our service sector, used to hide the games of corrupt practices abroad and indeed sadly on too many occasions of criminality.”
He added: “What he (President Putin) is doing to us, to the people of these islands, is he is unpicking the values and principles that our grandparents fought for 80 years ago. He is unpicking the principle that we embedded into the Constitution of the United Nations, of the Council of Europe. He is unpicking the principle of the rule of law that the debate amongst sovereign peoples should be the way that disputes are settled in this world, and he is replacing the rule of law for the rule of force.
“Sadly, he’s demonstrating that not only does it work on the ground, but it also works in the wallet. He’s demonstrating that a leader can profit politically and personally from the abuses that he conducts against his own people and his neighbours.”