US President Joe Biden signed an executive order barring new investment, trade and financing to, from, or in Ukraine’s breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the White House said Monday.
The order also provides authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine, which both lie along the country’s border with Russia.
The move came after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Moscow’s recognition of the self-proclaimed republics in a speech Monday that also attacked Ukraine’s government and the US and accused the West of ignoring Russia’s core security concerns.
“President Putin’s action contradicts Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements, refutes Russia’s claimed commitment to diplomacy, and undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the White House said in a separate statement.
The order bans the importing into the US, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services or technology from the regions.
Along with Russia’s military buildup, tensions have recently risen dramatically in eastern Ukraine, with reports of a growing number of cease-fire violations, multiple shelling incidents, and the evacuation of civilians from the pro-Russian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The US, with its European allies, has said that Russia is setting the stage to invade Ukraine after having amassed over 100,000 troops and heavy equipment in and around its neighbor.
Russia has denied that it is preparing to invade and instead accuses Western countries of undermining its security through NATO’s expansion towards its borders.
In 2014, Moscow began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained since then. The conflict has taken more than 13,000 lives, according to the UN.