Entry of Russian troops into Donbass is not a ‘new step’, says administration official

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According to a senior administration official, Russian troops entering disputed territory in Ukraine will not constitute an invasion in the eyes of the White House.

President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognized two occupied regions, the Luhansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic, as independent from Ukraine, marking a significant development in the ongoing conflict. Following this decision, the Russian leader ordered a “peacekeeping operation” in these regions.

The White House, following Russia’s decision to recognize the occupied regions as independent, said President Joe Biden would unveil sanctions, but not those previously threatened for a full-scale invasion.

RUSSIA RECOGNIZES TWO SEPARATIST-HOLDED REGIONS IN EASTERN UKRAINE

“We have anticipated such a move from Russia and are ready to respond immediately. President Biden will soon issue an executive order that will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or within the so- saying DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

“This EO will also provide the authority to impose sanctions on anyone determined to operate in these areas of Ukraine. The Departments of State and Treasury will have additional details shortly,” she added. “We will also soon announce additional measures related to today’s flagrant violation of Russia’s international commitments.”

The unnamed official reiterated to reporters that “Russian troops moving alone into Donbass would not be a new stage” as Russian troops have been there since 2014, later noting that Putin’s announcement speech was a way to ” justify war” to the Russian people. .

Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz following Putin’s announcement on Monday and “continues to consult closely with Allies and partners, including Ukraine.” , on next steps and on Russia’s continued escalation along the border with Ukraine,” according to the White House.

A day earlier, the White House said President Biden would be open to a call with Putin following a Thursday call between senior officials, although the administration official changed his tune, saying he “Certainly cannot engage in a meeting that predicates that Russia will not take military action, when that seems as imminent as it will.

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Recently, Ambassador Bathsheba Nell Crocker, the US representative to the European office of the United Nations, warned that the Russians had created a list of Ukrainians to be killed or imprisoned following an invasion.

“Specifically, we have credible information that indicates Russian forces are creating lists of identified Ukrainians to be killed or sent to camps as a result of a military occupation,” Crocker wrote in a letter sent to Michelle Bachelet. , the UN high commissioner for human rights, also noting that they believe it is “likely” that Russian forces will use “lethal measures to disperse peaceful protests”.

The unnamed official said, “We have alerted individuals and groups that we believe may be targeted based on our understanding and knowledge of Russian plans,” but did not specify who received those alerts.

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