Feb 22, 2022 - World

U.S. official says a Russian invasion of Ukraine has started

A military vehicle driving near the city of Shchastia on Feb. 22 with a smoke rises from a fire at a power plant.
A military vehicle driving near the city of Shchastia on Feb. 22 with a smoke rises from a fire at a power plant. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. considers Russia sending troops into eastern Ukraine the start of "an invasion," a White House official said during an interview with CNN on Tuesday.

Why it matters: U.S. officials denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to recognize two breakaway "republics" in eastern Ukraine as independent and send Russian troops for "peace keeping" operations in the regions Monday but did not initially call the deployment an invasion.

  • The Biden administration repeatedly promised that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would trigger a "massive" package of sanctions on Moscow, though officials hesitated Monday to use the term.

What they're saying: “We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia’s latest invasion into Ukraine," Jon Finer, principal deputy national security adviser, told CNN on Tuesday.

  • "An invasion is an invasion and that is what is under way," Finer added.
  • Finer said the U.S. would announce additional sanctions on Russia, adding to sanctions announced Monday that prohibited American investments in the separatist Ukrainian regions.

The big picture: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Tuesday at the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will be halted over Russia's decision to send troops into eastern Ukraine, Axios' Zach Basu reports.

  • Additional sanctions from the U.S. will likely lead to more sanctions on Moscow from European allies.

Go deeper: 5 key questions that could determine the shape of Russia's invasion

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