EU ministers to discuss new sanctions on Russia
EU ministers meet to discuss "what sanctions to impose" on Russia after it recognized both Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine.
According to the EU's top diplomat, foreign ministers will meet on Tuesday to discuss what penalties to implement in response to Russia's decision to recognize the sovereignty of the two republics, Donetsk and Lugansk, in southeast Ukraine.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the meeting in Paris “will take the political decisions vis-à-vis the European response.”
“Clearly, that response will be in the form of sanctions,” Borrell said. He said the aim is not to impose the whole range of sanctions that the EU has prepared should Russian invade Ukraine, but rather address the recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent republics.
"I wouldn't say that's a fully fledged invasion, but Russian troops are on Ukrainian soil," Borrell said when asked if Russia's decision to put "peacekeepers" in already amounts to an invasion.
London| Johnson to impose "immediate" economic sanctions
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the United Kingdom will impose "immediate" economic penalties on Russia, warning that President Vladimir Putin is planning an alleged "full-scale invasion of Ukraine."
Johnson claimed that Putin had "completely torn up international law," and that British sanctions should target "Russian economic interests as hard as we can," not only the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
He is to set out further details of the sanctions in the House of Commons later Tuesday.
He told broadcasters that this would be “just the first barrage of UK economic sanctions against Russia because we expect, I’m afraid, that there is more Russian irrational behavior to come.”
“I’m afraid all the evidence is that President Putin is indeed bent on a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the overrunning, the subjugation of an independent, sovereign European country and I think, let’s be absolutely clear, that would be absolutely catastrophic.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is scheduled to address Parliament later about new sanctions on Russia, which the government says is in coordination with the European Union.
Paris| Le Drian slams Putin
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to recognize the republics in Ukraine.
He called the recognition a violation of international law and the Minsk peace accord with Ukraine.
“Obviously, we will take the initiative to impose sanctions,” he said, adding that EU foreign ministers will meet “to examine together what measures to take.”
In the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, the EU's 27-member bloc has stated that sanctions will be imposed.
United Nations| Calls for Russia to revoke its recognition
Ukraine's UN envoy has demanded that Russia revoke its recognition of territories in the east, withdraw its "occupation troops" dispatched there by President Vladimir Putin, and resume talks.
Sergiy Kyslytsya told a UN Security Council emergency meeting on Monday that Ukraine convened the rare nighttime session to protest and denounce Putin's "illegal and illegitimate" recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which he said violated Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He said Ukraine’s borders “will remain unchangeable regardless of any statements and actions by the Russian Federation.”
Russia's alleged control of Donetsk and Lugansk, he said, ruins bargaining frameworks and "may be considered" a unilateral withdrawal from the Minsk Agreements aimed at restoring peace to eastern Ukraine.
“We are committed to a political-diplomatic settlement and do not succumb to provocations,” Kyslytsya said.
While Ukraine has the right to self-defense, he said, “We are committed to a peaceful and diplomatic path and we will stay firmly on it. We are on our land. We are not afraid of anything or anyone. We owe nothing to anyone, and we will not give away anything to anyone.”
Moreover, Russia’s UN ambassador accused the United States and its Western allies of pushing Ukraine toward “an armed provocation.”
Vassily Nebenzia, speaking at a UN Security Council emergency meeting on Monday night, accused Ukraine of ramping up shelling in residential areas of the separatist Lugansk and Donetsk regions, as well as Russian towns and villages close the border.
He said that Ukraine has stationed a 120,000-strong military force along the eastern contact line with pro-Russian rebels, and that subversive elements had infiltrated or attempted to infiltrate the Donbas to sabotage crucial infrastructure.
“So it has become clear that Donbass is on the brink of a new Ukrainian military adventure as was already the case in 2014 and 2015,” he said.
That is why, according to Nebenzia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier Monday that Russia will recognize Lugansk and Donetsk as separate states and will deploy Russian peacekeepers to the two regions.