Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered soldiers to enter separatist-controlled areas of Eastern Ukraine on Monday (February 21). The order comes just hours after Putin recognized the independence of the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk, which have been controlled by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.
Putin said that the troops would be engaging in “peacekeeping functions” as the regions have seen escalating violence between both sides over the past several days.
Earlier in the day, President Joe Biden placed sanctions on Russia over Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk.
“President Biden will soon issue an Executive Order that will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine. This E.O. will also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
“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.”