President Biden is imposing sanctions on two Kremlin-backed separatist regions in Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin said Russia would recognize them as independent, the White House said on Monday.
The big picture: The US and EU denounced Putin’s move, calling it a violation of international law and a major blow to the peace process in eastern Ukraine. Many fear it could be a pretext for a larger Russian invasion. The UN Security Council was expected to convene an urgent meeting later Monday following a request from the US, Ukraine and several other countries.
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Meanwhile, Biden spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss “how they will continue to coordinate their response on the next steps,” according to a readout from the White House.
He also spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to reaffirm US commitment to Ukraine, outline the United States’ response, including on sanctions, and vowed to “respond swiftly and decisively, in lock-step with its Allies and partners, to further Russian aggression against Ukraine, “the statement added.
What they’re saying:
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement the executive order Biden signed Monday “will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine. We will also soon announce additional measures related to today’s blatant violation of Russia’s international commitments. “
“To be clear: these measures are separate from and would be in addition to the swift and severe economic measures we have been preparing in coordination with Allies and partners should Russia further invade Ukraine,” she added.
“Tomorrow we will be announcing new sanctions on Russia in response to their breach of international law and attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken In a statement Putin’s action “represents a complete rejection of Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements, directly contradicts Russia’s claimed commitment to diplomacy, and is a clear attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
UN Secretary General António Guterres said in a statement that Russia’s action is “a violation” of Ukraine’s “territorial integrity and sovereignty” and “inconsistent” with the principles of the United Nations Charter.
Macron tweeted that he had called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council and for EU sanctions.
The United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted“Tomorrow we will be announcing new sanctions on Russia in response to their breach of international law and attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at a press conference that Russia’s move “is plainly in breach of international law. It’s a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine. It is a repudiation of the Minsk process.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement that Russia’s action “further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, erodes efforts towards a resolution of conflict, and violates the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia is a party.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel issued a statement reiterating their “unwavering support” for Ukraine.
Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement denouncing Russia for its “unacceptable” violation of Ukraine’s “political unity and integrity.”
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.
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