Biden to impose sanctions on pro-Russian separatist regions of Ukraine

By: - February 21, 2022 7:07 pm

The White House. Credit: Wikipedia

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden issued an executive order Monday imposing sanctions on the two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin declared independent earlier in the day.

The order bars new investment, trading, and finance in the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a written statement the administration “anticipated a move like this from Russia.”

“To be clear: These measures are separate from and would be in addition to the swift and severe economic measures we have been preparing in coordination with allies and partners should Russia further invade Ukraine,” Psaki said.

The sanctions will “prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine.”

The executive order will “also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine,” Psaki said.

The announcement followed a lengthy speech from Putin during which he called Ukraine “a colony with puppets at its helm” before declaring the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic independent.

“Ukraine has never had its own authentic statehood. There has never been a sustainable statehood in Ukraine,” Putin said.

Putin later ordered the Russian military into that region, according to multiple news reports.

Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for about 35 minutes during which he discussed plans for sanctions and “strongly condemned Russian President Putin’s decision to purportedly recognize the ‘independence’ of the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine,” according to a White House statement. Biden also spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Monday afternoon “about Russia’s ongoing escalation along the borders of Ukraine.”

Zelenskyy wrote in a tweet that he and Biden “discussed the events of the last hours.”

Monday’s events struck a much different tone than those on Sunday when Biden agreed to meet Putin “in principle” as long as Russia didn’t further invade Ukraine.

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Jennifer Shutt
Jennifer Shutt

Jennifer covers the nation’s capital as a senior reporter for States Newsroom. Her coverage areas include congressional policy, politics and legal challenges with a focus on health care, unemployment, housing and aid to families.