US President Biden announces sanctions against Russia

TEHRAN, Feb. 22 (MNA) – Russia announced its recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics and ordered to deploy a peacekeeping mission in Donbass on Monday amid rapidly deteriorating tensions in Donbass.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognise the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine prompted a response from an array of Western countries, including the US and the UK, threatening to impose sanctions against Russia. 

Here are the latest updates:

US President Biden announces sanctions against Russia

The US president announced the first tranche of sanctions against Russia, which target VEB and its military bank, Russia's sovereign debt, and imposes sanctions on Russian "elites and their families."

He also said he had worked with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to ensure that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would have brought liquefied natural gas from Russia to German, will not open.

"We are implementing comprehensive sanctions on Russian sovereign debt. That means we have cut off Russia's government from Western financing. It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either," Biden said.

The sanctions are slated to take effect beginning on Wednesday. Biden said the US was prepared to implement sanctions ‘far beyond” those in 2014 if Russia attacks Ukraine.

Russia plans to evacuate diplomats from Ukraine in nearest future 

Russia will evacuate embassy personnel from Ukraine in the nearest future, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

"Under the current circumstances, our first priority is to take care of Russian diplomats and employees of the embassy and consulates general. To protect their lives and safety, the Russian leadership decided to evacuate the personnel of Russian foreign missions in Ukraine, which will be implemented in the very near future," the statement read.

According to the statement, Russian diplomats in Ukraine received "threats of physical reprisal" and some had their cars burnt.

"Despite their obligations under the Vienna conventions on diplomatic and consular relations, the Ukrainian authorities have not anyhow addressed these events," the ministry said.

EU to sanction Russian individuals and entities 

The European Union foreign ministers have unanimously agreed on a package of sanctions against Russia, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday.

"We see that there is clear action against the territorial integrity of Ukraine. That is something we agreed on and we also unanimously agreed on a package of sanctions," Le Drian said following the informal meeting of EU top diplomats.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has announced a list of sanctions that the EU is planning to slap on Russia over its decision to recognise the two Donbass republics.

According to him, the bloc will limit the Russian state and government’s access to the European capital and financial markets.

The EU top diplomat further promised Russian banks that "financed" Russia's decision on recognising DPR and LPR, and its operations in Donbass, will also face sanctions.

In total, some 27 persons and entities outside of the Russian government will be slapped with sanctions.

US President Biden announces sanctions against Russia

Putin says best if Ukraine refuses to join NATO, adopts neutrality

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that the best solution to the current crisis would be Ukraine refusing to join NATO and adhering to neutrality, Sputnik reported.

"The best solution to this issue would be for our colleagues in Western countries not to lose face, so that the current Kiev authorities themselves refuse to join NATO, in fact, adhere to neutrality," Putin told reporters.

In addition, Putin said that Ukraine getting tactical nuclear weapons would be a “strategic threat” for Russia.

When asked about the Federation Council's approval of the use of military abroad, Putin said that Russia will fulfill its obligations "if necessary."

"Firstly, I didn’t say that the troops would go there right after our meeting with you here … Secondly, it’s impossible to predict any specific outline of possible actions at all, it depends on the specific situation that is developing on the spot, on the ground," Putin told reporters.

Russian Federation Council approves use of military abroad

The upper house of Russia’s parliament, the Federation Council, on Tuesday approved Russian President Vladimir Putin’s request for the use of military abroad.

Earlier in the day, Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said that the federation council received such a request.

Russia regrets Germany’s statements about Nord Stream 2: Peskov 

The Kremlin regrets the German authorities are going to suspend the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media on Tuesday.

"With regret," Peskov replied, in what way Moscow reacted to such statements by Germany.

The Kremlin official recalled that Russia kept saying all the time that this project had no bearing on politics and must not have any.

"This is a purely economic, commercial project, which, alongside yielding mutual benefits, is called to serve as a stabilizing factor for the European gas market. Both providers and recipients of our gas, in the first place, Germany and the other European countries are interested in it," Peskov said.

He stressed that Russia hoped the Nord Stream 2 project would be put on hold only for a short while.

"It is to be hoped that such projects are hindered only for some time, due to various political reasons. The way we see it, this is wrong anyway," Peskov said.

US President Biden announces sanctions against Russia

Lavrov-Blinken meeting still on agenda: Russian MFA

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Tuesday confirmed that the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US State Secretary Antony Blinken will proceed as scheduled.

Zakharova said that Moscow has not heard from Washington about canceling this event.

"We are always ready for the negotiations process," the spokeswoman told Dozhd TV.

The meeting is scheduled to be held on Thursday in Geneva.

Pipeline ready but West simply aims to contain Russia

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is ready but the West simply to contain Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Wednesday, when commenting on the halting of the project’s certification.

"The project itself is ready, everything is ready, but there has been no launch for several months. To date, they have announced that they are withdrawing the approval procedure. They don’t need reality…they only want one thing: directly link politics and the energy sector," Zakharova told Dozhd TV.

Explosions heard in Donetsk centre 

Explosions are heard in Donetsk center on Tuesday, Sputnik reported. Presumably, at least three explosions occurred in the eastern part of the city.

Russia calls on other countries to recognize DPR, LPR independence

Russia calls on other countries to follow its example and recognize the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, according to TASS.

"Russia calls on other countries to follow its example," the statement reads. "This was the only possible solution, albeit quite a challenging one."

China reacts to Russian recognition of Donbass republics

China has expressed “concern” over how the situation is developing in Ukraine after Russia announced its recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Russia Today reported.

Speaking to his US counterpart Antony Blinken in a phone call on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the latest changes were connected to the continued failure to implement the 2015 Minsk Agreement, which provided a roadmap for the peaceful reintegration of the breakaway regions of Donbass into Ukraine.

The top Chinese diplomat said Beijing’s position on the issue of Ukraine remains consistent. “Legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected and the principles of the UN Charter should be upheld,” Wang said.

He called on all parties involved to “exercise restraint, recognize the importance of implementing the principle of indivisibility of security, ease the situation, and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation.”

Russia to assist DPR, LPR militarily if threatened

NATO-Ukraine commission extraordinary meeting to be held on Tuesday

An extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will be held on Tuesday, the alliance said in a statement.

"On Tuesday, 22 February 2022, the NATO Secretary-General, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, will brief the media at NATO HQ, following an extraordinary meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission," the statement read.

Russia to assist DPR, LPR militarily if threatened

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko on Tuesday said that Moscow will provide military assistance to the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics in the event of emerging threats, but has no intentions of deploying troops yet, Sputnik reported.

"Let's not speculate. So far, no one is going to deploy anything. If there is a threat, then we will certainly provide assistance under the treaty which has been ratified", Rudenko told journalists, in response to a question about possible direct military engagements between Russian and Ukrainian military in the event of troop deployment in the republics.

UK sanctions five banks 

The UK has slapped sanctions on five Russian banks and three high net worth individuals, AlJazeera reported.

“This is the first tranche, the first barrage of what we are prepared to do,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the UK Parliament.

He said the individuals being sanctioned will have any assets they hold in the UK frozen and be barred from entering the country. Among them is close Putin ally Gennady Timchenko.

The sanctioned banks are Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank.

EU seeking to limit Russia's access to European financial markets

The European Union wants to slap sanctions on Russian banks and limit Russia's access to European financial markets over Moscow's recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), a joint statement by the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission has said, Sputnik reported.

The statement clarified that only those banks the EU believes are financing the Russian military and Moscow's operations in Donetsk and Lugansk will be affected. The presidents also noted that specifically the Russian state and government will be limited in its access to the EU's capital and financial markets if the sanctions package gets adopted.

Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on hold

Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on pause

The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has stopped the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, Der Spiegel has reported.

The move comes after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that his contacting the country's regulator is a "necessary step" to suspend the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

"Today I asked the Federal Ministry of Economics to withdraw from the Federal Grid Agency a report on ensuring energy security. This sounds like a technical moment, but it is a necessary step so that the certification of the gas pipeline cannot take place now. Without this certification, Nord Stream 2 cannot be launched", Scholz told reporters on Tuesday.

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy says Kiev considering possibility of severing diplomatic ties with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that he received a request from the Foreign Ministry to cut diplomatic ties with Russia amid the latter's recognition of the DPR and LPR's independence and that he was considering this option.

"Immediately after our press conference, I will contemplate this issue and not just it, but also on our practical steps regarding the escalation by Russia", he said.
Lavrov says Russia guarantees security of DPR, LPR

"For all of these seven years, we have on a daily basis been drawing the attention of our European partners to the fact that Kiev does not care one bit about them, and does nothing about the Minsk agreements; moreover, Kiev publicly declares that it will not comply with them", Lavrov told the press.

According to the minister, Kiev "forces" its Western guardians to share or "silently swallow" the Russophobia that has become a driving force in Ukraine, while Donbass was denied the right to negotiate with the Ukrainian authorities.

Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on hold

Decision on Russia's recognition of DPR, LPR difficult but Only possible option: Medvedev

"The presidential decrees on Russia's recognition of the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics have been published. The decision is difficult, but the only possible one. On one side of the scale are the interests of the current Kiev authorities, their Western patrons. On the other hand, the safety of civilians, including almost 800,000 Russian citizens", Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said, adding that Russia has no right to abandon them.

UK PM Johnson says London will impose sanctions on Russia on Tuesday

The United Kingdom will immediately impose economic sanctions on Russia following Moscow’s moves in eastern Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson says.

The sanctions, Johnson told reporters, would be “targeted not just at entities in Donbas and Luhansk and Donetsk, but in Russia itself – targeting Russian economic interests as hard as we can.”

Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on hold

Russia says 'open to diplomacy' over Ukraine

Russian envoy to the United Nations has reaffirmed Moscow’s “openness to diplomacy”, noting that President Vladimir Putin’s move to declare two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine independent was aimed at foiling the new "Ukrainian military adventure".

"We remain open to diplomacy for a diplomatic solution," Vasily Nebenzya said during an emergency UN Security Council session, even as the US and its allies rounded on Russia.

"However, allowing a new bloodbath in the Donbass is something we do not intend to do," the envoy hastened to add, referring to the restive Lugansk and Donetsk regions.

Nebenzya stated that the decision came as eastern Ukraine had been on the brink of a new "Ukrainian military adventure".

Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on hold

EU foreign ministers to decide on emergency sanctions against Russia on Tuesday: Borrell 

Emergency sanctions against Russia will be imposed later on Tuesday during an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said.

Borrell added that these sanctions would be the European response to the Russian recognition of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics. He noted that these would be emergency measures and only a part of a full package of sanctions.

Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on hold

Iran’s foreign ministry calls for dialogue to resolve crisis

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement that Tehran was closely watching developments in Ukraine and called on all sides to refrain from any action that would increase tensions.

Saeed Khatibzadeh called on all sides to resolve the issue through dialogue.

“Unfortunately, NATO interference and provocative moves led by the United States have made conditions in the region more complicated,” he added.

Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on hold

Johnson tells Zelensky Russia’s attack on Ukraine imminent

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his conversation with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said Russia’s attack on Ukraine is allegedly possible in the near future.

"Outlining his grave concern at recent developments in the region, the Prime Minister told President Zelensky that he believed an invasion was a real possibility in the coming hours and days," the statement made public following a phone conversation of the two leaders said.

"The leaders agreed that the West needed to support Ukraine in the event of an invasion but should continue to pursue a diplomatic solution until the last possible second," the statement noted.

Syria supports Russia's decision to recognise DPR & LPR as sovereign states: Mekdad

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad announced his country's support for the Russian president's decision to recognize the independence of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR).

"Yesterday, [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin made a statement that is truly a milestone in history, and you know that the Syrian Arab Republic fully supports the statement made by President Putin", Mekdad told the Valdai Discussion Club.

Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on hold

Moscow ready for negotiations

Moscow is still ready for talks with Washington as the decision to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics doesn’t affect the readiness for dialogue, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on the Solovyov Live YouTube channel.

"Even in the most difficult times we said we were ready for a negotiating process," she said when asked if the decision affected plans for a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. "So, our position remains the same. We are ready for a negotiating process."

"We are always in favor of diplomacy," Zakharova said.

US, allies to undertake appropriate steps after Russia’s recognition of DPR, LPR: Blinken

"Kremlin recognition of the so-called "Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics" as "independent" requires a swift and firm response, and we will take appropriate steps in coordination with partners," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a tweet. 

Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on hold

Biden says Russia’s recognition of DPR, LPR threatens US national security

"The Russian Federation’s purported recognition of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) or Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) regions of Ukraine contradicts Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements and further threatens the peace, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and thereby constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States," said US President Biden according to TASS.

Russia’s decision on recognizing DPR, LPR may lead to global consequences: UN official

Russia's decision to recognize the independence of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR) may lead both to regional and global consequences, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said, TASS reported.

"We very much regret this decision, which risks having regional and global repercussions," she said at a session of the UN Security Council dedicated to the situation in Ukraine. "We also regret the order to deploy Russian troops into eastern Ukraine, reportedly on a peacekeeping mission," she emphasized.

UN urges diplomatic solution to crisis

Opening the emergency meeting, the United Nations has expressed “great concern” about Russia’s decision to recognise the rebel areas in eastern Ukraine, and the implications of the latest developments for the stability of the region.

Russian President orders peacekeeping mission in DPR, LPR

Security Council meeting gets underway

The emergency meeting of the Security Council has now begun, according to AlJazeera. 

The council is chaired by Russia.

China calls for diplomatic efforts to ease tensions around Ukraine

China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun on Monday urged all parties involved in tensions in Ukraine to continue the dialogue and seek for a diplomatic solution.

"All parties concerned must exercise restraint and avoid any action that may fuel tensions. We welcome and encourage every effort to a diplomatic solution and call on all parties concerned to continue dialogue and consultation and seek reasonable solutions to address each other’s concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect," Jun said at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.

DPR, LPR borders to be protected jointly with Moscow: Russian State Duma

The protection of the people's republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR, LPR) state borders will be carried out jointly with Moscow, draft agreements published by Russian State Duma on Tuesday read, Sputnik reported.

The same formula was featured in the draft agreement between Russia and the DPR with both agreements concluded for a period of ten years.

According to agreements, the parties are obliged to respect the integrity and inviolability of each other's borders with Russia taking effective measures to maintain and operate the financial and banking system of the republics.

Germany puts Nord Stream 2 on hold

Ukraine’s Zelensky calls for clear and effective steps against Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of wrecking peace talks and ruled out making any territorial concessions.

UN Security Council to meet after Russia move

The United Nations Security Council is due to meet in just over an hour’s time over the Ukraine crisis, AlJazeera reported.

Ukraine called for the meeting and was backed by the United States, as well as other countries.

Russia holds the rotating presidency of the council this month.

Russian President orders peacekeeping mission in DPR, LPR

Putin orders peacekeeping mission in LPR, DPR: Decree

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered to ensure peace in the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics (DPR and LPR) by means of Russia's Armed Forces, according to decrees published on the portal of legal information.

In addition, he instructed the Russian Foreign Ministry to hold talks with the DPR and LPR on the establishment of diplomatic relations, friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance. Decrees recognizing the LPR and DPR as sovereign and independent states were published early on Tuesday.

UK to announce ‘significant’ Russia sanctions on Tuesday

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a “significant package of sanctions” in a few hours time.

A spokesperson told the Reuters news agency that the sanctions will be agreed to at a meeting of the United Kingdom government’s crisis response committee at 06:30 GMT and take immediate effect.

Russian President orders peacekeeping mission in DPR, LPR

Biden holds secure call with Macron, Scholz after Putin's statement on Donbas: White House

After Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement about the recognition of the DPR and LPR, US President Joe Biden had a secure call with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a White House official told reporters, Sputnik reported.

"President Biden convened a secure call at 15:17 EST [20:27 GMT] with French President Macron and German Chancellor Scholz," the spokesperson said.

Details of the conversation between the leaders have not yet been disclosed.

Biden holds phone talks with Zelensky amid Russia's recognition of DPR, LPR: White House

On Monday, a new phone conversation between US and Ukrainian presidents, Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky, lasted just over half an hour, a senior White House official told reporters.

"President Biden spoke with President Zelensky following President Putin's speech. The call lasted roughly 35 minutes, and we're expecting a longer, forthcoming readout," he said.

Joe Biden told his Ukrainian counterpart about Washington’s intentions to introduce sanctions against Moscow due to Russia’s recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), the White House press service reported.

According to it, "President Biden strongly condemned Russian President Putin’s decision to purportedly recognize the "independence" of the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine" and "reiterated that the United States would respond swiftly and decisively, in lock-step with its Allies and partners, to further Russian aggression against Ukraine."

Russian President orders peacekeeping mission in DPR, LPR

Biden to issue executive order prohibiting 'New Investment, Trade & Financing by US Persons' in DPR, LPR: White House

US President Joe Biden signed a decree on sanctions over Russia’s recognition of the sovereignty of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR). The document, among other things, establishes a ban for Americans to finance and invest in the DPR and LPR as well as on trade with the republics, TASS reported.

Biden’s executive order prohibits "new investment in the so-called DNR or LNR regions of Ukraine or such other regions of Ukraine as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State (collectively, the "Covered Regions"), by a United States person, wherever located."

Additionally, a ban is introduced on "the importation into the United States, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services, or technology from the Covered Regions," as well as on "the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any goods, services, or technology to the Covered Regions."

Additionally, the executive order vests the US administration with powers to impose sanctions on individuals operating in the DPR and LPR.

Russian President orders peacekeeping mission in DPR, LPR

Putin: Russia recognises independence of two breakaway regions in Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees at the ceremony in the Kremlin on recognizing the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Speaking in a televised address to the citizens earlier, Putin explained, "I believe it is necessary to take this long-overdue decision. I immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic."

The Russian leader asked the Federal Assembly to back this decision and then ratify the treaties on friendship and mutual aid with both republics. While announcing this decision, the president voiced confidence about the support of Russian citizens and all patriotic forces in the country.

Later, Putin met with the DPR and LPR leaders, Denis Pushilin and Leonid Pasechnik, and signed with them the treaties on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid between Russia and both republics. The ceremony was held in the Kremlin’s St. Catherine Hall, which hosted the meeting of the Russian Security Council. At this meeting, the Security Council’s members called for recognizing the independence of the DPR and LPR, TASS reported. 


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