US, allies pile up sanctions as Russian troops near Ukraine: Report

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A number of nations, including the United States imposed sanctions on over its actions against

The measures came after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed decrees to recognise Ukraine’s regions of “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” as “independent”, escalating the tension in the region and increasing fears of Moscow’s invasion of He also ordered Russian troops into eastern in what the Kremlin called a “peacekeeping” mission in the Moscow-backed regions.

US President Joe Biden has announced a set of sweeping sanctions targeting Russia’s ability to do business with the West, asserting that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s decision to order troops into parts of eastern Ukraine was “a flagrant violation of law”.

Announcing the “first tranche” of on for its moves against Ukraine, including on two large financial institutions, Russian sovereign debt and Russian elites and their family members, Biden said the American actions would effectively “cut off Russia’s government from Western finance.”

Japan is imposing sanctions on over its actions in Ukraine, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Wednesday, terming Moscow’s moves an unacceptable violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and law.

Details of the sanctions will be worked out and announced over the coming days, he added.

Japan has sufficient reserves of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) so that there will not be a significant impact on energy supplies in the short term, Kishida said.

The 27-nation EU has sanctioned the 351 Russian legislators who voted in favour of recognising the separatist regions in Ukraine, as well as 27 other Russian officials and institutions from the defense and banking world.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz effectively froze approval for Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany amid a dramatic escalation of tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

Ukraine declares emergency

Ukraine declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and told its citizens in Russia to flee, while Moscow began evacuating its Kyiv embassy in the latest ominous signs for Ukrainians who fear an all-out Russian military onslaught.

Shelling intensified at the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, where Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised the independence of two Moscow-backed rebel regions this week and has ordered the deployment of Russian troops as “peacekeepers”.

But there was still no clear indication of whether he plans to follow that up with a massed assault on his neighbour by tens of thousands of troops gathered near Ukraine’s borders.

“Predicting what might be the next step of Russia, the separatists or the personal decisions of the Russian president —I cannot say,” Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

In addition to the 30-day state of emergency, the Ukrainian’s government has announced compulsory military service for all men of fighting age. Ukraine’s parliament, cabinet and foreign ministry websites were down. Government websites have experienced several outages in recent weeks, which Kyiv has blamed on cyber attacks.

Open to ‘diplomatic solutions’

President Vladimir Putin said he remains ready to pursue “diplomatic solutions” as long as Russia’s interests and security are guaranteed, after the U.S. and its allies agreed on a “first tranche” of sanctions against Moscow for its actions over separatist-held Ukrainian territory.

Russia begins Ukraine evacuations

Russia has started evacuating its embassy in Kyiv, as fears mount that Russian President Vladimir Putin might be about to order an invasion of Ukraine.

Russian state news agency Tass reported that Russia began pulling personnel from its diplomatic posts in Ukraine on Wednesday.

The move came a day after the Russian Foreign Ministry announced a plan to evacuate, citing threats against Russians in Ukraine. At the same time, Ukraine urged its citizens to leave Russia as the region braced for a military confrontation, with some 150,000 Russian troops deployed around Ukraine’s borders.

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