The leaders of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a request for military assistance.
In the appeals dated February 22, Pushilin and Pasechnik complain about the "intensification of military aggression" by Ukraine, the "destruction of infrastructure" including schools and hospitals, and the death of civilians, including children.
"The actions of the Kyiv regime show reluctance to stop the war in the Donbas," Pasechnik said in his appeal. "Kyiv continues to build up its military presence on the line of contact, while receiving comprehensive support, including military support, from the United States and other Western states."
Referring to Articles 3 and 4 of the treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance, the leaders of the DPR and LPR asked Putin "to assist in repelling the aggression of the armed forces and formations of Ukraine."
Ukrainian President Zelensky was informed by US intelligence about a possibility of a large-scale Russian invasion using airstrikes, missiles and ground troops, which could begin within 48 hours, Newsweek writes, citing sources.
In the morning, Russia began to evacuate personnel from all diplomatic missions in Ukraine, and Kyiv began to call up thousands of reservists.
The Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has approved a state of emergency throughout the country, except for the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. A special regime for entering leaving the country has been introduced. Mass events and the dissemination of destabilizing information have been prohibited. If necessary, a curfew and restrictions on the Internet and communications can be imposed.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on NATO to close the sky over Ukraine and requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he initiated a conversation with Putin but did not receive a response.