(CNN) — President Joe Biden plans to impose new sanctions on trade and financing in the two pro-Moscow territories in Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to recognize as independent on Monday.
In a statement, the White House said Biden would sign an executive order that would “prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine.”
Putin signed decrees recognizing the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic Monday in a ceremony carried on state television earlier on Monday.
Biden’s executive order will also allow the US to impose sanctions on anyone operating in those areas. And the White House said it would “soon announce additional measures related to today’s blatant violation of Russia’s international commitments.”
“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,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki wrote in a statement.
The sanctions announced by the White House targeting the specific regions were far from the devastating consequences to Russia that Biden and US officials have warned would be imposed if Russia invades, a sign that the more sweeping measures are being kept in the event that Moscow moves forward with military action to invade Ukrainian territory.
Last week, Secretary of State Antony Blinken promised “a swift and firm response” from the US and allies and partners if Russia moved to recognize Ukraine’s breakaway regions as part of Russian territory, calling such a move a “gross violation of international law.”
The US response followed a lengthy speech from Putin Monday attacking both Ukraine and the West and his signing of the decrees recognizing the two controversial separatist-held regions.
Western officials fear that the move is the precursor to a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. US and other NATO countries have warned they have prepared severe sanctions in the event Moscow invades Ukraine that would go beyond the measures the White House announced on Monday.
NATO and European officials also condemned Putin’s actions in statements. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the move “further undermines” Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“I condemn Russia’s decision to extend recognition to the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic,'” he said. “This further undermines Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, erodes efforts towards a resolution of the conflict, and violates the Minsk Agreements, to which Russia is a party.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that Putin’s recognition of the separatist regions was an “ill omen and a very dark sign.”
Biden consulted with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on a call Monday afternoon, and he subsequently spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
While Putin held a national security meeting Monday ahead of his speech, Biden was conferring with top US officials at the White House. Blinken, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and CIA Director Bill Burns arrived at the White House on Monday, which is a US holiday. Vice President Kamala Harris, who returned Sunday evening from the Munich Security Conference, was also at the White House.
Overnight, US officials downplayed the chances a French-proposed summit between Biden and Putin would materialize, suggesting the prospects of a Russian invasion of Ukraine made such a meeting highly unlikely.
They said no work had been made on timing, format or location for such a summit.
Speaking on American television morning shows, national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned Russia could be preparing for a conflict even more brutal than some initial estimates.
“We believe that any military operation of this size, scope and magnitude of what we believe the Russians are planning will be extremely violent. It will cost the lives of Ukrainians and Russians, civilians and military personnel alike. But we also have intelligence to suggest that there will be an even greater form of brutality because this will not simply be some conventional war between two armies: It will be a war waged by Russia on the Ukrainian people, to repress them, to crush them, to harm them,” Sullivan said during a Monday appearance on NBC’s “Today Show.”
Sullivan said on ABC that “all signs look like President Putin and the Russians are proceeding with a plan to execute a major military invasion of Ukraine,” making clear that an attack could begin at any moment and the step toward invasion was underway.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
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