The UK Government is set to announce sanctions against Russia tomorrow, reports say this evening (Monday).
Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss said to be planning the move, for which laws were passed on in the UK on February 10.
When the laws were announced earlier this month, the government said they would allow the UK to “impose sanctions on Russian businesses and individuals in a wide range of economic and strategically significant sectors, such as the chemical, defence, extractives, ICT and financial services industries”.
If there is an invasion of the Ukraine by Russia, further sanctions could follow, reports MirrorOnline.
President Vladimir Putin said earlier today that it was “historical fact” that Ukraine is in Russia in a speech which was broadcast on Russia 24.
Mr Putin painted today’s Ukraine as a modern construct that is inextricably linked to Russia, and went on to say Russia has every right to protect its security.
He signed a decree recognizing the independence of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk.
The recognition is an upping of the ante in a crisis the West fears could unleash war.
The UK Prime Minister condemned the recognition as a breach of international law during a Downing Street press conference this evening.
He said: “I gather just as I came into this press conference that Vladimir Putin has effectively announced that Russia is recognizing the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
“This is plainly in breach of international law. It’s a … flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine.
“It is a repudiation of the Minsk process and the Minsk agreements, and I think it’s a very ill omen and a very dark sign.”
Truss also said the move violated the UN Charter and signaled an end to the Minsk process – a set of agreements designed to end a separatist war by Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine.
She said in a statement: “We will not allow Russia’s violation of its international commitments to go unpunished.”
Johnson is due to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Monday.
When asked earlier if it was now time to impose sanctions on Russia, Johnson said he would have to wait and see what happened in eastern Ukraine.
He said: “What I have said before about the package of sanctions is that they will be triggered with the first toecap of a Russian incursion or Russian invasion. But plainly what has happened is extremely bad news.
“It is becoming clear that we’re going to need to start applying as much pressure as we possibly can because it is hard to see how this situation improves.”
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