The “stare of thrones” between Russia and Ukraine assumed a new dimension on Monday when President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s defense ministry to send troops into Ukraine, ostensibly for peacekeeping.
According to President Putin, the mission of the Russian troops is to maintain peace in two breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
A Russian decree published earlier on Tuesday, recognizes the independence of the break-away regions. The decree stipulates that the troops are to remain in the territory until both separatist states sign treaties about “friendship, co-operation, and mutual aid.”
The Financial Times reports that the White House said President Joe Biden would, in retaliation, issue an executive order that would ban new investment, trade and financing by US people and entities in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine.
“This EO [executive order] will also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine,” said Jen Psaki, White House press secretary.
“We will also soon announce additional measures related to today’s blatant violation of Russia’s international commitments.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel also condemned Putin’s decision, saying it is a “blatant violation of international law as well as of the Minsk agreements.”
UK foreign secretary Liz Truss also said sanctions were on the way. “Tomorrow we will be announcing new sanctions on Russia in response to their breach of international law and attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said in a tweet.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg condemned the move, saying “this further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, erodes efforts towards a resolution of the conflict, and violates the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia is a party.”
While calling for targeted European sanctions and a meeting of the UN Security Council, President Macron of France condemned Putin’s decision, and said it was “clearly a unilateral violation of Russia’s international commitments and a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” according to a statement from the Elysée in Paris.