US announces sanctions on Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine

i24NEWS - AFP

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Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine are set to hold elections in two self-proclaimed republics
ALEKSEY FILIPPOV (AFP)Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine are set to hold elections in two self-proclaimed republics

UK announces sanctions against Russia after Putin grants recognition to Ukraine separatists

The United States on Monday announced sanctions against rebel areas in Ukraine recognized by Russia, shortly after a Russian decree recognizing the breakaway regions, followed shortly after by the United Kingdom announcing its own sanctions on Moscow.

The US sanctions will "prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

After being signed by US President Joe Biden, the measures will "provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine," Psaki added.

More sanctions will be placed "should Russia further invade Ukraine."

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Trust said new sanctions will be placed on Russia "in response to their breach of international law and attack on Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

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European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel also said the recognition was “a blatant violation of international law," vowing sanctions.

They said the EU “will react with sanctions” and “reiterates its unwavering support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.”

Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions have been under the control of Russian-backed separatists since 2014. 

Russia occupied the Crimean Peninsula the same year, with major hostilities ended by the Minsk Agreement.

Current troop movements in Russia and Belarus along the border with Ukraine, as well as a renewal of fighting in the region, are a precursor to a Russian invasion, according to Western powers.

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