The Russian leader has made a “big escalatory step” as the world has been warned “that any attack on annexed Ukraine territories is like an attack on Russia.”
Vladimir Putin is fighting a war of “occupation and annexation” by making territory that is now under Russian control a part of Russia as Moscow has issued their passports to Ukrainians and put in place Russian officials to take charge of occupied parts of Ukraine.
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Therefore any attack by Western forces on occupied territory in Ukraine will turn into World War Three, NBC’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has warned.
Engel told NBC viewers, “This is not just a symbolic step.
“When other countries, the United States invaded Iraq, it was not to take Iraq forever and make it part of the United States.
“This is what Russia is doing. It is fighting a war of occupation and annexation.
“So, by taking this territory annexing it, making it part of Russia, Russia will say then that any attack on the territory that it controls inside Ukrainian territory is like an attack on Moscow.”
Engel added, “So, it is putting down another gauntlet so to speak to the US, to a supplier of weapons to Ukraine and saying: if those weapons that the United States has given to Ukraine right now hit territory inside Ukraine from Russia’s perspective, it will be like it’s attacking Moscow.
“It is attacking the centre of the country. So, it is a big escalatory step.
“And it comes as Vladimir Putin is trying to show that he has friends.
“He was in Iran making a very, very rare trip outside of the country because he wants drones and he wants to show that he’s not as isolated as we think he is.”
Putin signed a decree in May to provide Ukrainians with Russian passports of occupied territories and later expanded this to all citizens of the Ukraine.