5 things to know Tuesday

World leaders scramble after Putin orders forces into separatist regions of Ukraine

World leaders scrambled Tuesday to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin – and to signal possible sanctions – after he ordered his forces into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. Didier Reynders, a top European Union official, said that Russia’s recognition of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent states and sending troops into the territories was an “act of war”. He said the EU is ready to implement sanctions against Russia. President Joe Biden signed an executive order Monday to sanction any Americans who invest in Donetsk and Luhansk, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. The move comes after Putin signed decrees recognizing the two breakaway areas as independent, further inflaming tensions with the West amid fears of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin said Putin also ordered Russian forces to “maintain peace” in eastern Ukraine. Soon after Putin signed the decree, convoys of armored vehicles were seen rolling across the separatist-controlled territories. It wasn’t immediately clear if they were Russian. Biden’s order will bar Americans from new investment, trade and financing to, from or in the regions, according to the statement.

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