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Ukraine - Russia crisis | News summary 22 February

Latest news and information as Russian President Vladimir Putin orders troops into separatist-held regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine-Russia crisis: live updates

Biden signs executive order imposing economic sanctions on Donbas regions

President Putin's recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent regions was a major provocation against Ukraine and one that may be used as pretext for a major invasion in the coming days and weeks. In response President Biden signed an exectutive order prohibiting trade with the two regions in the Donbas area of Ukraine. 

The order states: "The United States will not hesitate to use its authorities to target those supporting efforts to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This authority provides the United States with the flexibility to impose similar restrictions on any other regions of Ukraine as appropriate."

Ukrainians hold rally in port city of Mariupol

In recent days President Putin has recognised the Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbas region of Ukraine as independent, giving Russia forces the flimsy pretext of entering Ukrainian land to support their newly-recognised allies. However Donetsk and Luhansk currently only make up one part of the Donbas region and their Russia-backed leaders hold ambitions further afield in the Donbas, all the way down to the major port town of Mariupol. 

Last night there was a pro-Ukraine rally in Mariupol, an act of definiance in the face of Russia's looming military might as Putin considers his next move. He has so far claimed that troops entering Ukrainian territory are simply there on a 'peace-keeping' mission, but reports from the ground suggest that locals are increasingly fearful of a fully-fledged invasion. 

China not following sanctions approach against Russia

China's Foreign Ministry has said on Wednesday that its position has always been that sanctions are not an effective way to solve problems, adding that it is opposed to unilateral sanctions.

This comes after the US, the EU, the UK, Canada, and Australia among others take their stands. Japanese PM, Fumio Kishida, has said that Japan's sanctions would involve prohibiting Russian bonds from being issued in the country, freezing the bank accounts of certain Russian individuals and restricting travel to Japan. He added that Moscow elites and Russian banks would also be targeted.

Ukraine starts drafting reservists after president's order

On Wednesday, Ukraine began conscripting reservists aged 18-60 following a decree by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the armed forces said in a statement.

The maximum service period is one year.

Zelenskiy on Tuesday said he was introducing the conscription of reservists but ruled out a general mobilisation after Russia announced it was moving troops into eastern Ukraine.

US voters support Russia sanctions

American voters overwhelmingly prefer sanctions over troop deployments as the response to Russia’s recognition of independence for a breakaway eastern Ukrainian region and the Kremlin’s plans to place troops there, according to a new Morning Consult survey, but data shows they would also blame the Biden administration for any resulting gas price increase.

Alex Willemyns reports.

UK to stop Russia selling sovereign debt in London

Britain will stop Russia selling sovereign debt in London after President Vladimir Putin deployed military forces into two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said this morning.

Truss said that if Putin went further and ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine then sanctions would be escalated. Britain on Tuesday imposed sanctions on Gennady Timchenko and two other billionaires with close links to Putin.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia was heading towards 'pariah status' and that the world must now brace for the next stage of Putin's plan, saying that the Kremlin was laying the ground for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Rouble steadies after new Western sanctions

The Russian rouble steadied near 79 to the dollar this morning, clinging on to recovered gains made the previous day as investors took stock of Western sanctions imposed on Russia for ordering troops into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.

As the markets awoke, the rouble was unchanged against the dollar at 78.81 and had gained 0.3% to trade at 89.21 versus the euro. Western nations on Tuesday punished Russia with new sanctions and threatened to go further if Moscow launched an all-out invasion of its neighbour, but the initial measures stopped short of targeting major financial institutions, meaning their impact could be minimal.

The United States broadened restrictions on trading of Russian government debt, prohibiting participation in the secondary market for bonds issued after March 1, a move that analysts said might have a moderate impact near-term but could be a step towards a harsher measure.

Russia was celebrating the Defender of the Fatherland public holiday on Wednesday, but some trading remained open. Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia's main export, was down 0.2% at $96.66 a barrel. Russia's dollar-denominated RTS index was up 0.5% to 1,233.1 points.

South Korea is in talks with US over Russia sanctions

South Korea was in talks with the United States on the possibility of joining sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, but not considering military assistance, the Yonhap news agency said on Wednesday, citing the presidential Blue House.

Avoiding 'catastrophic' US-Russia war

Listen to Hagar Hajjar Chemali explains why she doesn't believe the US will intervene on a military basis, or at least that President Biden sees that as an absolute last resort.

"Having two superpowers go to war would be catastrophic!"

US will escalate sanctions ir Russia escalates aggression toward Ukraine

Secretary of State Anthony Blinken outlined the first ranche of US sanctions on Russia after invading Ukraine on Tuesday. Blinken laid out that further sanctions would be imposed in coordination with allies if Russia increases its aggression toward neighboring Ukraine.

Japan and Australia impose sanctions on Russia

Australia and Japan are the latest countries to join the US and EU nations in applying sanctions on Russia for its escalation of the crisis with Ukraine.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called Moscow's moves an unacceptable violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and international law. Kishida said full details of the sanctions will be released in coming days including prohibiting Russian bonds being issued in Japan, freezing the assets of select Russian individuals and restricting travel to Japan.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said of Russia's actions “They are behaving like thugs and bullies." His administration will target travel bans and financial sanctions on eight individuals on Russia's national security council. Furhtermore, broader sanctions will be extended to the separatist Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. 

In mix-up, UK mistakes Russian central bank address with that of private bank sanctioned

Britain placed sanctions on five private banks that are privately owned by Russian billionaires with direct links to Putin on Tuesday. The move came after Russia recognized the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states and sent "peacekeepers" into the separatists occupied zones.

The British foreign office mistakenly listed the address for Bank Rossiya, located in St Petersburg, as that of the Russian central bank, also known in Russian as "Bank Rossiya", which is located in Moscow. A correction has been issued and the error didn't affect the central bank's operations according to a scource.

UN Secretary General concerned about Russia calling its troops peacekeepers

I am concerned about the perversion of the concept of peacekeeping.    

When troops of one country enter the territory of another country without its consent, they are not impartial peacekeepers.  

They are not peacekeepers at all.

António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Biden will not meet Putin until Russia de-escalates Ukraine crisis

The White House had mooted the idea of President Biden meeting personally with President Putin on the condition of Russia not invading Ukraine. At a briefing with reporters press secretary Jen Psaki that is off the table now with Russian troops now on the ground in eastern Ukraine. 

The move is seen as part of a plan for a broader invasion of the country. Biden has expressed doubts that diplomacy can resolve the crisis accusing Russia of violating international law. The US and its allies have begun issuing sanctions on Russia.

Psaki says cutting Russia out of SWIFT system still an option

The US Treasury Department release details of the frist tranche of sanctions on Russia after it recognized two provences partially controlled by separatists as independent states. The sanctions are limited to a select group of Kremlin elites, state controlled financial institutions and restrictions on Russia sovereign debt for the time being.

At a briefing on Tuesday prerss secretary Jen Psaki said that the US has more options on the table to inflict more financial pain on Russia should it continue to move forward with its invasion of Ukraine. This could include kicking Russia out of the SWIFT system for international cross-border financial transactions which would cause significant economic disruption in the country and send the ruble tumbling.

US Treasury details sanctions on Russia

The US Treasury Department has released details on the new sanctions President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday. The measures will target five "Kremlin-connected elites" and two Russian state-owned financial institutions. Additionally the Treasury will put more restrictions on Russian sovereign debt. The US is holding in reserve stricter sanctions in an effort to prevent a wider invasion of Ukraine.

Ukrainian President to conscript troops due to looming threat of Russian invasion

President Zelensky despite growing warnings from NATO leaders has tried to play down the looming threat of a Russian invasion until recently. In recent days though with a force now approaching 200,000 strong amassed along the border of Ukraine surrounding the country he called on Western powers in Munich to impose sanctions before Russia invades.

The Russian parliament, the Duma, ratified President Putin's recognition of the Eastern Ukrainian provences of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states. The lawmakers also authorized the deployment of Russian troops into the breakaway territories. Overnight, Russian tanks have been seen on the streets moving through parts of Eastern Ukraine.


Biden's White House speech: What did he say about Russia, Ukraine and economic sanctions for Putin?

The past two days have seen two key escalations from Moscow in relation to Ukraine which have brought almost universal condemnation from the West and prompted President Biden to hold a White House press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

On Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he was officially recognising the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine as independent. This area is comprised of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Then in the early hours of Tuesday morning footage shared online showed Russian troops moving into Ukraine, heightening tensions in the region. 

Here’s how the President responded in his White House address on Tuesday…


What are Russian-backed separatists?

Russian troops have entered the Donbas region of Ukraine, the area recently recognised as indenpendent by President Vladimir Putin. The region consists of the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk and has been the focus of conflict in recent days after fighting between Russian-funded separatist groups and Ukrainian forces. During a legislative session on Tuesday President Putin officially asked Russian lawmakers to grant permission for a military advance into the region, and his request was approved. 

Read more

ICYMI: Russia troops enter Donbas region of Ukraine

Footage captured in the early hours of Tuesday morning shows the Russian military enter into Ukrainian territory in the disputed region of Donbas. On Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he was officially recognising the separatist-led regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent, heralding the start of troop movement into Ukraine. 

Biden promises harsh new sanctions on Russia

President Biden has just completed a White House address on the situation in Eastern Europe after Russian troops entered the Donbas region of Ukraine on Tuesday morning. Earlier today the United Kingdom and Germany, along with numerous other Western powers, announced the introduction of new sanctions on Russia and Russian citizens designed to dissuade President Putin from continuing to encroach upon Ukraine's territory. 

Biden hits back at Russian expansion in Eastern Ukraine

Biden gives White House address on Russian aggression in Ukraine

"Today I am announcing the first tranche of sanctions on Russia to impose costs for their actions yesterday... We've cut off the Russian government from Western finances and can no longer raise new funds on Western markets."

President Joe Biden , Sanctions on Russia

"These are totally defensive moves on our part, we have no intention of fighting Russia. We want to send an unmistakable message though, that the United States will protect every inch of NATO territory."

President Joe Biden , Remarks on NATO commitments

WATCH: President Biden gives White House address on Russia and Ukraine

President Biden will shortly give a speech outlining the situation in Eastern Europe after Russia moved military forces into the Donbas region of Ukraine in the early hours of Tuesday morning. He is expected to outline tough new sanctions and provide reassurance for Ukrainians.

Press awaits President Biden's White House speech on Russia-Ukraine conflict

When is President Biden's White House speech on Russian invasion of Ukraine?

Earlier today it was announced that President Biden would give a White House address following reports that Russian forces have entered the contested Dombas area of Eastern Ukraine. The speech was originally scheduled for 1pm ET, before being pushed back to 2pm. It is now thought that the speech could begin around 2:30pm and will be streamed live on the White House' social media and YouTube channels, as well as being carried on major news networks. 

On Monday President Putin officially recognised the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine as independent, clearing the way for Russian troops to enter the area using the flimsy pretext of supporting an ally. In response the United States and other Western powers have moved to issue economic sanctions on Russia and Russian people but it remains to be seen if that will dissuade Putin from further provocation. 

Putin warns of "bloodshed" in Ukraine and asks Russian govt for military action

Speaking in a televised address to the nation yesterday, President Vladimir Putin confirmed that he anticipated fighting in Ukraine after officially recognising Donetsk and Luhansk as independent regions. He spoke of his desire to "ratify treaties of friednship and mutual support" with the two regions and called upon Russian lawmakers to submit to his request to authorise military action in the region to support their interests. 

What is Biden doing about Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

At 2pm ET President Biden will give a White House speech in which he is expected to outline the US' response to Russia advances in Eastern Europe and to reassure Ukraine that the West will support their sovereignity. The US, like many nations, has already announced a number of economic sanctions designed to hurt the Russian economy and dissaude President Putin from any further military action. 

As this White House fact sheet explains, Biden yesterday signed an executive order preventing trade with the separatist-held regions of Donetsk and Luhansk which Putin has recognised as independent from Ukraine. 

It reads: "The United States will not hesitate to use its authorities to target those supporting efforts to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This authority provides the United States with the flexibility to impose similar restrictions on any other regions of Ukraine as appropriate."


How many US citizens are in Ukraine?

"We strongly reiterate our recommendation to U.S. citizens to depart Ukraine immediately," Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrote in a statement yesterday. "Russian troops have continued to move closer to the border in what looks like plans for an invasion at any moment."

With Russian troops now moving into Ukraine the United States has encouraged any US citizens still in the country to leave as soon as possible. The situation is becoming increasingly tense in Eastern Europe and the Ukrainian President has refused to stand down in the face of Russian aggression. 

How many Americans are thought to be living in Ukraine and how long could it take to get them out?

Read more

Putin granted permission to launch military action overseas

Tensions have continued to rise in recent days, culminating with President Putin officially recognising Russian-backed regions in Eastern Ukraine and moving troops into Donetsk and Luhansk. The Unted States is now terming Russia's actions in the region as an invasion and Putin has, on Tuesday afternoon, been granted permission by Russian lawmakers to utilise the military overseas. The Russian government has baselessly claimed that Ukrainian forces has launched attacks in the region. 

“Negotiations have reached a dead end,” said Russia's Deputy Defense Minister, Nikolai Pankov,. “The Ukrainian leadership has taken the path of violence and bloodshed.”

Biden will give White House speech on Russian invasion from 2pm

President Joe Biden will give a speech from the White House this afternoon, outlining the United States' response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Biden had previously said that any form of invasion would constitute a red line for the US and Russia's actions would be met with the harshest sanctions. 

Previously the Biden administration had been reluctant to term Russia's movement in Eastern Europe as an 'invasion', but that finished today. Jon Finer, Principal Deputy National Security Adviser, told CNN earlier: “An invasion is an invasion and that is what is underway.”

WH Press Sec supports Germany's move against Russia

Earlier today German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that Germany had suspended the certification process of theNord Stream 2 pipeline. The enormous infrastructure project would see a natural gas pipeline built to connect Russia supplies of gas to the rest of Europe to bolster their export market. However, Sholz said, "the situation has fundamentally changed."

In response White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted to say that President Biden was fully on-board with Germany's decision, and added that the US is set to announce details of its own economic sanctions for Russia later today. 

Western leaders join to condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine

“In a single inflammatory speech, he denied that Ukraine had any tradition of genuine statehood, claimed that it posed a direct threat to the security of Russia and hurled numerous other false accusations and aspersions.”

“The House should be in no doubt that the deployment of these forces in sovereign Ukrainian territory amounts to a renewed invasion of that country.”

Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister

"[Russia's recognition of independent regions of Donetsk and Luhansk is] a gross contradiction of the Minsk agreement for a peaceful settlement of the conflict in east Ukraine and a unilateral breach of these deals from the Russian side."

Olaf Scholz, German Chancellor


What EU countries import oil and gas from Russia? Will the supply be impacted if Russia invades Ukraine?

Russia is a major global exporter of oil and gas, providing supplies for much of Europe, and Russian fuel now represents more than a third of Europe's total import of the resources. This market is a vital component of the Russian economy and one that Western countries have already moved to control with the threat of sanctions in response to the Ukraine invasion. 

However with so much of the world reliant on Russian oil and gas, can these measures be effective?

Read more

How has the Russian invasion affected oil prices and the stock markets?

After months of tensions on the Ukrainian border Russian President Vladimir has now sent troops into Ukraine, on what he claims is a 'peace-keeping' mission in the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. This action has had a sizeable impact on the global markets, which has fallen in recent days due to the threat of fighting in Europe. Western forces have also moved to slap sanctions on Russia and Russian assets too, which may have caused the slump in some markets. 

One commodity which has grown in value is oil, which is one of Russia's most important exports. Much of the West is reliant on Russian oil but economic sanctions could make it more difficult to acquire in the coming months. 

Russia's military is now in Donetsk and Luhansk

Russian tank pictured in Eastern Ukraine

In the image taken late on Monday evening, Russian military forces are shown in areas of Eastern Ukraine recently recognised by President Putin as independent. For months Russia has been ammasssing a huge military force around Ukraine, now thought to number close to 180,000 troops according to US intelligence agencies. 


What sanctions will be imposed on Russia if they invade Ukraine?

In a televised public address on Monday Russian President Vladimir Putin signed papers formally recognizing two regions of Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk, as independent. This was followed by so-called "peacekeeping" troops sent into the regions, sending heavily armed Russian troops over the border and into Ukraine.

Western powers have seen this as a clear provocation and the biggest sign yet that Putin's ambitions in the region are real and that he is willing to send in the Russian military. In response NATO powers and Ukrainian allies have promised to hit back with severe economic sanctions, but what will this entail?

Read more

Soccer club owner becomes embroiled in Russian sanctions dispute

During a heated session in the House of Parliament, UK lawmakers spoke about the possibility of sanctioning ultra-wealthy oligarchs Roman Abramovich and Alisher Usmanov, who are closely connected to soccer clubs Chelsea and Everton. Prime Minister Johnson told the House that Abramovich, who bought a controlling stake in current European and World champions Chelsea in 2003, is already facing sanctions. 

However Labor MP Chris Bryant has tweeted: "The PM told the House that Roman Abramovich has already been sanctioned. He hasn’t. It’s untrue."

Will NATO troops be sent to fight in Ukraine?

Ukraine is not currently a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) but is still receiving some form of support from NATO forces in response to Russian aggression on the border. President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops into separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk to support Russia-funded independence groups. However UK President Boris Johnson has, in the past few minutes, reiterated that NATO forces will not fight in Ukraine. 

UK announces sanctions against Russia, but do they go far enough?

In the past few minutes UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a televised press conference in which he announced a new package of economic sanctions against Russia following the troop advancement into Eastern Ukraine.

Johnson warned that if an full-scale invasion were to go ahead "we will be witnessing the destruction of a democratic state, a country that has been free for a generation, with a proud history of elections."

However some commentators feel that Johnson's measures do not go far enough in punishing the Russian state for provocative actions in the region, arguing that numerous banks and oligarchs have not been included in the list of sanctions. 

Ukrainian President vows to stand strong against Russian intimidation

“Ukraine unequivocally qualifies the latest actions of the Russian Federation as a violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state."

“We are on our land. We are not afraid of anything and anyone. We don’t owe anything to anyone, and we won’t give anything to anyone. And we are sure of it because now it’s not February 2014; it’s February 2022. Another country, another army, one goal. This is peace, peace in Ukraine! Glory to Ukraine."

Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian President

How do the Russian and Ukrainian militaries compare?

WIth Russian forces advancing into two separatist regions in Eastern Ukraine, Sky News runs through the disparity of military might between the two nations. The United States is ready to unleash significant economic sanctions on Russia if it chooses to launch a full invasion into Ukraine but President Biden has reiterated that he has no intention of sending American troops to fight in Ukraine. Without military support, the Ukrainian forces could be badly out-gunned. 

WATCH: Putin orders troops into Eastern Ukraine

In what has been seen as a potential precursor to full-scale invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin is moving soldiers into areas of Eastern Ukraine declared as independent by rebel groups in recent days. After a meeting with the highly influential Russia Security Council in recent hours Putin announced that Russia would recognise the self-proclaimed independent regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. 

Ukrainian Foreign Minister welcomes Germany's announcement

In the past hour German Chancellor Olaf Scholz  announced that the country has halted the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the major infrastructure project building a natural gas pipeline between the two countries. “The situation has fundamentally changed,” Scholz told a news conference.

In response Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has thanked the German governemnt for thier support. 

Russia's actions an "attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has condemned Russia’s “attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Ukraine, and called for “dialogue” between the two countries to resolve the current crisis.

We urge Russia, not for the first time, to resolve these issues through dialogue, to sit down at the negotiating table,” the Ukrainian president told a news conference on Tuesday (quotes via CNN). “We are ready to negotiate in any forum, and Russia knows this.”

“With regards to being on a military footing, we understand there will be no war,” Zelenskiy also said.

There will not be an all-out war against Ukraine, and there will not be a broad escalation from Russia. If there is, then we will put Ukraine on a war footing.”

Zelenskiy added that he is “considering” breaking off diplomatic relations with Russia.

Finland says Russian action in Ukraine could affect joint nuclear project

Russia's actions in Ukraine will have an impact on the security assessment for a joint Finnish-Russian nuclear plant project in northwest Finland, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told reporters on Tuesday.

"Security will certainly be one factor in the review," Niinisto said.

He declined to comment on the likely outcome of the assessment and added the Finnish government would make the final decision on whether a construction permit is granted.

The plant is a joint project between a consortium of Finnish utilities and a subsidiary of Russian state company Rosatom, which holds a 34% stake. Finland has been preparing the venture for 10 years, eight of them with Russia as partner.

Niinisto also said the European Union would make a decision on Tuesday on the first set of sanctions in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's move to recognise two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.


Scholz stops certification of Nord Stream 2 pipeline

In response to Russia’s recognition of the independence of the two breakaway regions in the east of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced that the country has halted the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

The situation has fundamentally changed,” Scholz told a news conference.

Blinken condemns Putin's "shameful act"

In a tweet early on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognise the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, and send troops into the areas, as a “predictable, shameful act”.

“Russia’s move to recognize the ‘independence’ of so-called republics controlled by its own proxies is a predictable, shameful act,” Blinken said. “We condemn them in the strongest possible terms and stand with Ukraine, as I told Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tonight.”

UK PM Johnson

Putin has "gravely miscalculated" - UK PM Johnson promises "hard" sanctions

Britain will immediately impose "hard" economic sanctions on Russia after President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of troops to two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday.

"We will immediately institute a package of economic sanctions," Johnson told reporters.

The sanctions, he said, would be "targeted not just at entities in Donbass and Luhansk and Donetsk, but in Russia itself - targeting Russian economic interests as hard as we can."

Putin will find he has "gravely miscalculated" if Russia invades Ukraine, Johnson said, adding that Moscow appeared to be bent on a full scale invasion.

Johnson chaired a meeting of Britain's national emergency security committee early on Tuesday.

"I think that the tragedy of the present situation is that President Putin has surrounded himself with like-minded advisors who tell him that Ukraine is not a proper country. And I think that he is going to find that he has gravely miscalculated," Johnson told reporters after the meeting.

(Text: Reuters; photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls)

Russia could lose Champions League final over Ukraine crisis

It is being reported in the UK media that Russia's hostilities towards Ukraine could see UEFA, European football's governing body, strip the Russian city of St Petersburg of the hosting rights to the 2022 Champions League final.

Read more

"You can conclude that the invasion of Ukraine has begun" - UK health sec

UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid says Russia's invasion of Ukraine has already begun, after Vladimir Putin recognised the independence of Moscow-backed regions in eastern Ukraine and sent troops into the areas.

Javid added that Britain will impose "targeted" sanctions on the country.

"You can conclude that the invasion of Ukraine has begun," Javid told Sky News on Tuesday, per Reuters. "The Russians, President Putin, has decided to attack the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity."

"We will be introducing sanctions as we said we always will," he said.

"I'm sure that we'll make those sanctions as targeted as possible to the people that are responsible for this flagrant violation of international law," Javid said.

Russia faces stiff sanctions after "blatant violation of interntional law" - EU Commission chief

The president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, says the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin are "a blatant violation of international law, the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the Minsk agreements".

Von der Leyen promised stiff EU sanctions against Russia, declaring: "The EU and its partners will react with unity, firmness and with determination in solidarity with Ukraine."


What sanctions will be imposed on Russia if they invade Ukraine?

AS USA's Calum Roche has more on the sanctions Russia faces after recognising the independence of separatist-held eastern regions of Ukraine and sending troops into the areas.

US adopts sanctions against Russia

US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order prohibiting investment, trade and financing by Americans in the Moscow-backed regions of Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR) as independent states and sent 'peacekeeping' troops into the areas.

In a statement, the Biden administration added that wider sanctions will be imposed against Russia if there is a "further Russian invasion of Ukraine".

"President Putin’s action contradicts Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements, refutes Russia’s claimed commitment to diplomacy, and undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," the White House said.

"This E.O. 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. We are continuing to closely consult with Ukraine and with Allies and partners on next steps and urge Russia to immediately deescalate."



Zelenskiy: "We will give nothing to no one"

Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelenskiy says the country is "committed to the peaceful and diplomatic path" but will not make territorial concessions to Russia, after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Moscow-backed regions in the east of Ukraine.

"We are committed to the peaceful and diplomatic path, we will follow it and only it," Zelenskiy told an address to the nation. "But we are on our own land, we are not afraid of anything and anybody, we owe nothing to no one, and we will give nothing to no one."

(Photo: Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

Ukraine-Russia crisis live updates: welcome

Good morning and welcome to our live blog on the Ukraine-Russia crisis for Tuesday 22 February 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered troops over the border into separatist-held regions in eastern Ukraine, after recognising them as independent states.

Putin has alleged that the troops will be taking on a 'peacekeeping' role - a claim rubbished by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US' ambassador to the United Nations, at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council last night. "He calls them peacekeepers," Thomas-Greenfield said. "This is nonsense. We know what they really are."

The US has already announced sanctions against Russia, while UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to establish a package of punitive measures against the country. The EU is also due to adopt sanctions on Tuesday.


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