The Russian upper chamber of parliament, the Federation Council, on Tuesday unanimously authorized the use of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.

The council made the decision after President Vladimir Putin asked the body’s permission to use the military abroad, specifically in the breakaway regions of Ukraine’s Donbas region that Russia on Monday recognized as “independent.”

Speaking to the chamber, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pavlov made it clear that permission is necessary to organize what Russia calls “peacekeeping missions” in Donbas’ separatist-held regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The council voted unanimously in favor of authorization.

After a speech late Monday saying Russia would recognize as independent the breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, Putin announced that Russia would send troops to those areas in order to “maintain peace.”

The announcements drew widespread global condemnation as violations of the UN Charter and international law, with Western countries vowing to impose harsh new sanctions.

In 2014, after invading Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, Moscow began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained for the past seven years. The conflict has taken more than 13,000 lives, according to the UN.

Putin’s latest moves follow Russia amassing some 100,000 troops and heavy equipment in and around its neighbor, with the US and Western countries accusing it of setting the stage for an invasion.

Russia has denied it is preparing an invasion and instead claims Western countries undermined its security through NATO’s expansion towards its borders.

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