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US sanctions Russia as EU and UK prepare their responses to Putin's troop movement

The United Stated announced sanctions today in response to Russia's deployment of troops in eastern Ukraine's two separatist enclaves.

The European Union and the United Kingdom were expected to announce sanctions later today.

The United States have issued an Executive Order (EO) prohibiting any economic activity in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DNR and LNR), which Russia has recognized as "independent" states.

"This EO is distinct from the swift and severe economic measures we are prepared to issue with Allies and partners in response to a further Russian invasion of Ukraine," t he White House stated, "We are continuing to closely consult with Ukraine and with Allies and partners on next steps and urge Russia to immediately deescalate."

The following are prohibited by the EO:

- New investment by a US person in Ukraine's so-called DNR or LNR regions, regardless of location;

- The direct or indirect importation into the United States of any goods, services, or technology from Ukraine's so-called DNR or LNR regions;

- The exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services, or technology from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, to Ukraine's so-called DNR or LNR regions;

- And any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee of a foreign person's transaction by a United States person, wherever located, where the foreign person's transaction would be covered by these prohibitions if performed by a United States person or within the United States.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel have condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to deploy troops to two breakaway Ukrainian regions for "peacekeeping" purposes.

President von der Leyen and President Michel issued a statement last night saying they "condemn in the strongest possible terms" the decision.

The move is a "blatant violation of international law as well as of the Minsk agreements," prompting the EU to "react with sanctions against those involved in this illegal act."

According to the President's statement, the Union reiterates its "unwavering support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders."

Separately, Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans stated that today was "without any doubt, one of the darkest days in modern European history."

"We have seen Russia, in flagrant violation of the UN Charter… act in a neighbouring country in a way that is completely unacceptable," Mr Timmermans added.

"Russia no longer has the power to dominate. Therefore, chooses to disrupt. And our reaction to that behaviour is going to determine not just the security of Europe, if is going to determine global security for the years to come," Mr Timmermans said.

The statement was released following Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement that Russia would recognize two breakaway Ukrainian regions as independent and deploy troops for "peacekeeping,".

Armoured vehicles were seen moving into eastern Ukraine overnight, according to witnesses, according to POLITICO. It is in response to President Putin's orders for Russian armed forces to "implement peacekeeping functions."

"Russia’s move to recognise the ‘independence’ of so-called republics controlled by its own proxies is a predictable, shameful act," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted in response to the announcement.

Secretary Blinken will meet with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba later today, after the two "discussed the strong measures" announced by the United States on Monday.

Following European Commission President von der Leyen's comments yesterday warning that Russia would be "cut off" from international financial markets if it invaded Ukraine, EU ambassadors will meet today to discuss economic sanctions against Russia.

Ms von der Leyen told local media that the proposed sanctions would affect "all goods we make that Russia urgently needs to modernise and diversify its economy, where we are globally dominant and they have no replacement."

In response to Putin's decision, US officials are expected to announce new sanctions against Russia. President Biden of the United States issued an executive order yesterday prohibiting new investment, trade, or financing by US citizens in the breakaway regions.

A Senior Administrative Advisor said in a press briefing that the US will take "further measures" to "hold Russia accountable" for the "clear violation of international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as of Russia’s own international commitments."

Although Germany has remained tight-lipped about possible sanctions against Russia, the European superpower is expected to face increased scrutiny over its decision to scrap the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany.

However, because Europe still relies heavily on Russian gas, this decision could have a negative impact on energy prices across the continent as the bloc struggles to keep the lights on.

According to UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to address the UK Parliament today.

Mr. Javid stated that sanctions will "almost certainly include action against any individuals, and for that matter, any companies or businesses or any other entities that are linked to the Russian state, that have any kind of significant economic influence in Russia, but also I’m sure that they will consider what sectors in the Russian economy we can target as well."

Economic sanctions, according to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will hit "economic interests that have been supporting Russia’s war machine."

"Be in no doubt that if Russian companies are prevented from raising capital on the UK financial markets, if we unpeel the façade of Russian ownership of companies, of property, it will start to hurt," Mr Johnson said.

Russia's actions, according to NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Gerry Connolly, "must be met with crippling and sustained sanctions." "There are no 'peacekeepers' in Donetsk or Luhansk," he added, "these are battle-ready Russian military units, and they are not there for peace ."

"There's going to be a sanctions package agreed today," Irish Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne said ahead of the General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting, "there’s going to be a sanctions package agreed today… I think that we’ve got to ensure whatever happens that Russia certainly feels the pain. And that’s going to happen" By fLEXI tEAM

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