E.U. To Launch Sanctions Against Those Involved In Russia’s Decision To Recognize Separatist Regions

E.U. To Launch Sanctions Against Those Involved In Russia’s Decision To Recognize Separatist Regions

The European Union announced late on Monday that it would enact sanctions against those involved in Russia’s recognition of two breakaway regions of Ukraine as independent entities.

“President Michel and President von der Leyen condemn in the strongest possible terms the decision by the Russian President to proceed with the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine as independent entities,” the European Union said in a statement. “This step is a blatant violation of international law as well as of the Minsk agreements.”

“The Union will react with sanctions against those involved in this illegal act,” the statement continued. “The Union reiterates its unwavering support to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Putin’s actions were “plainly in breach of international law.”

“It’s a … flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine,” Johnson said. “It is a repudiation of the Minsk process and the Minsk agreements, and I think it’s a very ill omen and a very dark sign.”

The statement from the E.U. comes after Putin announced on Monday that he would recognize the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent regions.

Putin said during a press conference, “I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago – to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.”

The New York Times reported:

Immediately after the speech, state television showed Mr. Putin at the Kremlin signing decrees recognizing the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, which were created after Russia fomented a separatist war in eastern Ukraine in 2014. Mr. Putin also signed “friendship and mutual assistance” treaties, raising the possibility that Russia could move some of the forces it has built up around Ukraine’s borders into those territories.

“As for those who captured and is holding on to power in Kyiv, we demand that they immediately cease military action,” Putin said. “If not, the complete responsibility for the possibility of a continuation of bloodshed will be fully and wholly on the conscience of the regime ruling the territory of Ukraine.”

The announcement from Putin comes after CBS News reported on Sunday that Russian military units near Ukraine had been given the order to invade.

The report from CBS News come as Putin has amassed approximately 190,000 troops near the Ukraine border, effectively surrounding the country. A U.S. official told reporters on Friday that 40-50% of the up to 190,000 Russian soldiers near Ukraine’s borders are now “in an attack position.”

“The intelligence says that Russian troops have actually received orders now, to proceed with the invasion,” CBS News correspondent David Martin said. “So not only are they moving up closer and closer to the border into these attack positions, but the commanders on the ground are making specific plans for how they would maneuver in their sector of the battlefield.”

“They’re doing everything that American commanders would do once they got the order to proceed,” he added.

This is a developing news story; refresh the page for updates. 

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