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'Won't Go Unanswered': US, France as Russia Recognises Rebel Regions in Ukraine

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting following Russia’s gambit.

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US President Joe Biden, France's Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday, 22 February, warned that Moscow's gambit to recognise two breakaway areas in Ukraine "would not go unanswered."

The public condemnation came after President Vladimir Putin on Monday, ordered Russian troops into two Moscow-backed rebel regions of Eastern Ukraine, challenging Western threats of sanctions in a move that could set off a potentially catastrophic war with Kyiv.

The US consequently announced sanctions, with the White House saying that Biden will issue an executive order to "prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in" the two rebel regions.

French President Macron also decried the Kremlin's move, urging the European Union to agree new sanctions against Moscow.

"The president condemns the decision... He is demanding an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council as well as the adoption of targeted European sanctions."
French Presidency's Statement
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"This is clearly a unilateral violation of Russia's international commitments and a breach of Ukraine's sovereignty," it added.

"The partners were united in their determination not to ease up their commitment to Ukraine's territorial integrity," German Chancellor Scholz's spokesman said in a statement, Reuters reported.

UK, India Decry Russia's Offensive at UN Emergency Meeting

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting following Russia’s recognition of the separatist regions in Eastern Ukraine.

Speaking at the meeting, United Kingdom Ambassador Barbara Woodward indicated that the UK "will be announcing new sanctions on Russia in response to its breach of international law and attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," adding that "there will be severe economic consequences to its actions."

"This Council must be united in: calling on Russia to de-escalate immediately; condemning aggression against a sovereign nation, and defending the territorial integrity of Ukraine."
United Kingdom Ambassador Barbara Woodward

Further, India at the meeting said that it has been closely following the evolving developments relating to Ukraine and the related announcement by Russia.

"The escalation of tension along the border of Ukraine with the Russian Federation is a matter of deep concern," India said, adding that these developments have the potential to undermine peace and security of the region.

What the UN Chief Said

UN chief Antonio Guterres also criticised Russia's decision, saying, "It's move is a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations."

The statement, issued by Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, the UN chief urged for "the peaceful settlement of the conflict" which is "in accordance with the Minsk Agreements, as endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 2202 (2015)".

(With inputs from Reuters and AFP)

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