Putin declares Ukraine regions of Luhansk and Donetsk independent entities in signed decree

Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Monday recognising parts of eastern Ukraine as independent entities, sending Russian forces there to “maintain peace”. The move threatens to push the crisis closer to all-out war.

Putin’s decrees, published by the Kremlin in the early hours of Tuesday morning, ordered the armed forces to enter the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

The decree says the troops are to remain in the territory until both separatist states sign treaties about “friendship, co-operation, and mutual aid”.

The White House said President Joe Biden would soon 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.”

Psaki said the measures were separate from the economic sanctions the US has threatened to impose if Putin invades Ukraine. “We are continuing to closely consult with Allies and partners, including Ukraine, on next steps and on Russia’s ongoing escalation along the border with Ukraine.”

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