Western powers have started imposing sanctions on Russia for its unilateral decision to move into the rogue Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk in the Donbass region, which have now proclaimed themselves as independent republics (DPR and LPR) with friendship agreements with Moscow which include dual citizenship, mutual defense, and a unified currency.
Russian President Vladimir Putin forced moved inside what is still regarded internationally as Ukrainian territory saying they were mere peacekeeping forces, to prevent any retaliation from Kiev.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz halted authorization for Nord Stream 2, the completed but not yet operational natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sanctioned five Russian banks and three high net worth executives, freezing their assets in Britain and cutting off financial transactions with them. This is the first tranche, the first barrage, of what we are prepared to do, Johnson said.
In Washington, the White House already refers to the latest movement of Russian troops as an invasion, after initially hesitating to use the term.
A senior US official said his country would hold Russia accountable for this clear violation of international law and Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as of Russia's own international commitments, although he declined to elaborate.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had called Tuesday for immediate sanctions.
Russian tanks entered eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region overnight, but it was still unclear whether it was a movement of Russian forces or merely a deployment of Russian-backed militias already in eastern Ukraine.
US President Joseph Biden issued an initial set of sanctions Monday in response to Putin’s recognition of the breakaway regions, which did not represent the “swift and severe economic measures we have been preparing in coordination with allies and partners should Russia further invade Ukraine,” according to White House sources.
Biden’s order prohibits new investment, trade and financing by Americans in those areas.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are still to meet this week to discuss the ongoing events. A Summit between Putin and Biden is almost ruled out, singe, according to Washington, it hinged on Russia not invading Ukraine.
About 14,000 people have been killed in the flashpoint Donbas territory since 2014 in fighting between pro-Moscow separatists and Kiev’s forces after Russia annexed Ukraine’s the Crimean Peninsula.