US imposes sanctions after Putin recognizes separatist regions of Ukraine

Washington – President Biden plans to impose sanctions targeting two Russian-backed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine in a swift response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision. Recognition of the territories as independentthe White House said on Monday.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement that Biden will “soon” issue an executive order prohibiting “new investment, trade and financing by American persons in, from, or in” the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk. People’s Republic, located in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine.

Psaki said Biden’s order would also provide the power to impose sanctions on “anyone determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine,” adding that the administration would also announce “additional actions relating to the flagrant violation of Russia’s international obligations.”

“To be clear: These measures are separate and will be in addition to the rapid and aggressive economic measures that we are preparing in coordination with allies and partners in the event of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” she said.

The Biden administration had previously warned that Putin’s move to formally recognize Luhansk and Donetsk as independents would be met with a “quick and firm response” from the United States and its allies.

Shortly after Putin’s announcement, which was the latest escalation in tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Biden had a safe call with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Schulz. The White House said the call between the three leaders lasted about 30 minutes, and came after the president spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for 35 minutes.

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Mr. Biden called on Zelensky to “reaffirm the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “strongly condemned” Putin’s recognition of the disputed territories, the White House said.

Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken said Putin’s move to recognize the two regions was a “clear attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and “another example of President Putin’s blatant disdain for international law and norms.”

“Our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine as well as for the government and people of Ukraine is unwavering,” Blinkin said in a statement. “We stand with our Ukrainian partners in strongly condemning President Putin’s announcement,” he added.

In addition to the upcoming US sanctions on the two regions, the European Union also said it intends to impose sanctions “against those involved in this illegal act.”

“This move is a flagrant violation of international law as well as of the Minsk agreements,” European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. statment.

Russia has massed nearly 190,000 troops near the Ukrainian border, and Biden said Friday he was “convinced” that Putin decided to invade. However, senior Biden administration officials have been pressing Moscow to pursue a diplomatic path rather than war.

But Putin’s move on Monday, which followed an unusual public meeting of his Security Council, indicates that the Russian leader is not interested in negotiating with the West for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken warned last week that recognizing Luhansk and Donetsk as independent would “undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial independence” and “a flagrant violation of international law.” Such a step “requires a swift and firm response from the United States, in full coordination with our allies and partners,” he added.

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