US to impose sanctions on Russia for recognizing breakaway Ukraine regions

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President Biden plans to impose sanctions targeting two Russia-backed breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine in a swift response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognize the regions as independent, the White House said Monday.

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

The order from Mr. Biden will also provide authority to impose sanctions on “any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine,” Psaki said, adding the administration will further “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 said.

The Biden administration previously warned that a move by Putin to formally recognize Luhansk and Donetsk as independent would be met with a “swift and firm response” from the U.S. and its allies.

Shortly after Putin’s announcement, which was the latest escalation in tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Mr. Biden convened a secure call with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The call between the three leaders comes after the president spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for roughly 35 minutes just after 2 p.m. ET.

In addition to the forthcoming penalties from the U.S. on the two regions, the European Union also said it intends to impose sanctions “against those involved in this illegal act.”

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

CBS News

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