Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops into contested Ukrainian territory, multiple news sources have reported.

It comes after he delivered a wide-ranging speech overnight where he attacked the concept of Ukraine’s sovereignty and recognised two separatist regions in Ukraine’s east.

It was announced today “peacekeeping” forces would enter the regions.

However, some unnamed sources on the ground have said they’ve seen Russian troops inside the contested territories.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the move.

“The suggestion that they are peacekeeping is nonsense,” he said.

The US and allies announced sanctions in response to the Russian movements.

Donetsk and Luhansk were two regions of Ukraine which declared independence in 2014, about the same time Russia took advantage of separatist sentiments in Crimea to annex the former Ukrainian territory.

The eastern breakaway states have high-Russian speaking populations and have been the site of separatist violence since then.

“I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago — to immediately recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic,” Putin said, according to the ABC.

It looks like Putin is using the recognition of the two breakaway states to shift troops into Ukraine while saying he really hasn’t moved troops into Ukraine. I guess whether or not it is an invasion depends on whether or not you recognise Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

Recognising the two states was a breach of international law, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne tweeted.

There have been weeks of tension between the two nations while Russia amassed troops on their shared border.

Russia had previously asserted it was applying pressure on Ukraine to prevent its admission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), a military organisation which includes the US and most of Western Europe.