Ukraine: Sajid Javid says Russian invasion 'has begun'
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Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of troops to two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine after recognising them as independent on Monday, accelerating a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war. A Reuters witness saw tanks and other military hardware moving through the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk after Putin formally recognised the breakaway regions and ordered the deployment of Russian forces to “keep the peace”. Sajid Javid said sanctions will be announced in a statement to parliament by the Prime Minister.
Speaking to Sky News, Mr Javid said: “We are waking up to a very dark day in Europe and it’s clear from what we have already seen and found out today that the Russians, President Putin, has decided to attack the sovereignty of Ukraine and its territorial integrity.
“We have seen that he has recognised these breakaway eastern regions in Ukraine and from the reports we can already tell that he has sent in tanks and troops.
“From that you can conclude that the invasion of Ukraine has begun.
“We will be introducing sanctions as we said we always will”
Britain has threatened to cut off Russian companies’ access to US dollars and British pounds, blocking them from raising capital in London and to expose what Johnson calls the “Russian doll” of property and company ownership.
Boris Johnson has said targets for sanctions could include Russian banks.
It comes as the Ukrainian military said two soldiers were killed and 12 wounded in shelling by pro-Russian separatists in the east in the past 24 hours, the most casualties this year, as ceasefire violations increased.
Putin’s announcement on Monday drew international condemnation and immediate US sanctions, with President Joe Biden signing an executive order to halt U.S. business activity in the breakaway regions.
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Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters after an emergency meeting of the Security Council late on Monday: “The United States will impose sanctions on Russia for this clear violation of international law and Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We can, will, and must stand united in our calls for Russia to withdraw its forces, return to the diplomatic table and work toward peace.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who received a call from Biden to express solidarity on Monday, accused Russia of wrecking peace talks and ruled out territorial concessions.
Rising fears of a major war in Europe pushed oil prices to a seven-year high on Tuesday, while safe-havens currencies like the yen rallied and global stocks tumbled.
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The rouble extended its losses as Putin spoke, at one point sliding beyond 80 per dollar.
In a lengthy televised address on Monday packed with grievances against the West, a visibly angry Putin said eastern Ukraine was ancient Russian land..
Putin delved into history as far back as the Ottoman empire and expressed frustration that Russia’s demands for a rewriting of Europe’s security arrangements had been repeatedly rebuffed.
“I deem it necessary to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago – to immediately recognise the independence and sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic,” Putin said.
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