The Russian president has given the order for Russian troops to move into two separatist regions of Eastern Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk. Previously, Mr Putin announced the Kremlin would recognise the breakaway regions of Ukraine as independent states, offering a pretext to send in Russian soldiers. The US and the UK responded to Mr Putin’s deployment order with sanctions, adding Moscow’s actions amount to the “beginning of an invasion”.
Former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, warned that President Putin could be stretching himself too thin with such an invasion, despite being bolstered by previous military successes.
Professor McFaul tweeted: “Even successful leaders later overreach.
“Putin tragically has won many wars – Chechnya 1999, Georgia 2008, Ukraine 2014, Syria 2015.”
The Kremlin was sanctioned by the West after annexing the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, to the southeast of mainland Ukraine.
Crimea has remained under Russian control ever since.
Professor McFaul added: “That emboldens him.
“But a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine could be a real overreach.
“I hope Putin understands that. I fear he does not.”
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She said: “President Biden will soon issue an Executive Order that will prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine.”
She continued: “We are also ready to impose swift and severe consequences should Russia instead choose war.
“And currently, Russia appears to be continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss announced a coordinated package of sanctions alongside other G7 countries, following the Prime Minister’s address in Parliament.
Boris Johnson told MPs in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon that the UK will sanction five Russian banks and three prominent oligarchs in response to Mr Putin’s go-ahead for troops in the breakaway regions.
Mr Johnson said: “We want to stop Russian companies from being able to raise funds in sterling or indeed in dollars.”
Mr Johnson called this “the first tranche, the first barrage of what we are prepared to do”.
He continued: “It is absolutely vital that we hold in reserve further powerful sanctions…in view of what President Putin may do next.”
MPs called for Mr Johnson to extend the sanctions further, with some calling for Russian oligarchs to be banned from the UK.
The Prime Minister responded that the Government retains “further sanctions at readiness to be deployed”.