Western powers reacted swiftly to Monday's decision by Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognise the independence of two self-proclaimed republics in east Ukraine and a deployment of troops to the region, condemning Moscow and calling for sanctions. Follow FRANCE 24 for live updates.
- 07:11 am Paris time
Moscow says it is still ready for foreign-minister-level talks
Moscow said on Tuesday that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was still ready for talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, after President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine's two separatist regions.
"Even during the most difficult moments… we say: We are ready for negotiations," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in remarks aired on YouTube.
Earlier Monday, France had announced that Lavrov would meet his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris on Friday.
- 05:08 am Paris time
'Perhaps the most powerful analysis of the situation came from Kenya's ambassador to the UN'
US, allies to announce sanctions against Russia
The United States is coordinating with allies and will announce new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday after Moscow recognised two breakaway regions of Ukraine as independent and sent "peacekeeping" forces there, US officials said Monday.
"Tomorrow, the United States will impose sanctions on Russia for this clear violation of international law and Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity," US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told reporters after a UN Security Council meeting on Monday evening.
"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."
France and Germany also agreed to respond with sanctions, and Britain and the United States said they would announce further measures on Tuesday.
- 04:44 am Paris time
US, allies lambast Russia over Ukraine at UN Security Council
The United States and its allies rounded on Russia during an emergency Security Council session Monday, denouncing Vladimir Putin's recognition of rebel-held areas in Ukraine and the deployment of troops as a gross violation of international law and "pretext for war".
Addressing the session, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield heaped scorn on Putin's assertion that the Russian troops would take on a peacekeeping role in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas.
"He calls them peacekeepers. This is nonsense. We know what they really are," Thomas-Greenfield said.
Ukraine's ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya insisted that his country's borders remain "unchangeable" despite Russia's actions.
Moscow is still "open to diplomacy for a diplomatic solution," said Russia's ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya.
"However, allowing a new bloodbath in the Donbas is something we do not intend to do," he added, referring to the region encompassing Donetsk and Lugansk.
'What happens now will be determined in the national capitals'
- 03:30 am Paris time
Russia's order to deploy 'peacekeepers' in eastern Ukraine 'nonsense', US says
Russia's order to deploy 'peacekeepers' in eastern Ukraine is 'nonsense', Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the United Nations said on Monday, adding that Moscow's recognition of the breakaway eastern regions were part of its attempt to create a pretext for a further invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine, Greenfield said the consequences of Russia's actions will be dire across Ukraine, Europe and worldwide and that the humanitarian toll will expand significantly if Moscow invaded further.
- 03:15 am Paris time
US sends remaining diplomats in Ukraine to Poland
The United States said Monday it was sending all of its diplomats in Ukraine to Poland out of security fears, hours after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into two rebel-backed regions in the country.
Earlier, the Kremlin leader recognised the independence of two rebel-held areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk areas of Ukraine. He then instructed his defense ministry to assume a "peacekeeping" role in the separatist regions.
"Today the Department of State is again taking action for the safety and security of US citizens, including our personnel. For security reasons, Department of State personnel currently in Lviv will spend the night in Poland," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
"We strongly reiterate our recommendation to US citizens to depart Ukraine immediately. The security situation in Ukraine continues to be unpredictable throughout the country and may deteriorate with little notice," he added.
Russian troops in Ukraine's Donbas won't trigger broader sanctions, says U.S. official
President Vladimir Putin's decision to send troops he called peacemakers into breakaway regions of Ukraine did not as yet constitute a further invasion that would trigger a broader sanctions package, a Biden administration official said on Monday but added that a full invasion could come at any time.
The United States will continue to pursue diplomacy with Russia until "tanks roll," another official said.
The Russian president's recognition of the two breakaway regions as independent and his order to send in troops upped the ante with the West over Ukraine.
The White House announced swiftly after Putin's announcement that it would prevent U.S. investment in those areas and one administration official told reporters that additional measures would be announced on Tuesday, but all of those were separate from a wider set of sanctions that Washington has promised to implement with its allies if Russia invades Ukraine.
The first administration official said sending Russian troops into the separatist regions was not a departure from what Russia had done already, which was why it did not trigger the broader sanctions.
"This isn't a further invasion since it's territory that they've already occupied," that official said.
The official speaking to reporters on a conference call said sending Russian troops into the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine was not new.
- 01:35 am Paris time
'Putin said very ominously: Russia can teach Ukraine what real decommunization means'
We won't give up any of our land, Zelensky says
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of wrecking peace talks and ruled out making any territorial concessions in an address to the nation in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Zelensky said Ukraine was committed to peace and diplomacy after Russia formally recognised two Russian-backed separatist regions as independent on Monday evening.
The president said Ukraine was expecting "clear and effective" steps from its allies to act against Russia and called for an emergency summit of the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France.
- 01:29 am Paris time
Emergency UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine confirmed
The United Nations will hold an emergency Security Council meeting on the Ukraine crisis at 9:00 pm (0300 Paris time) in New York, after Russia recognised two breakaway regions there and ordered its military to act as peacekeepers.
Russia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council, had wanted it to be closed but the United States insisted it be public, according to diplomats.
UN Political Affairs Chief Rosemary DiCarlo will brief the council.
Ukraine will participate under rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
- 12:33 am Paris time
Putin orders Russian military to act as 'peacekeepers' in Ukraine regions
President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered Russia's military to act as peacekeepers in two breakaway regions of Ukraine, just hours after he recognised them as independent.
Putin's recognition of the separatist republics as independent effectively buries a fragile 2015 peace plan for the conflict, and opens the door for direct Russian military involvement.
In two official decrees, Putin instructed the defence ministry to assume "the function of peacekeeping" in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Moscow provided no details or date for any deployment, with the order only saying that it "comes into force from the day it was signed".
- 12:23 am Paris time
US to 'assess' Russia moves after Putin orders troops to Ukraine
The United States took a wait-and-see attitude Monday to President Vladimir Putin's ordering of Russian troops to deploy inside separatist areas of Ukraine, saying that talks are possible "until the tanks roll."
"We are going to assess what Russia's done," a senior US official told reporters, saying that Russian forces had been covertly in the separatist areas for eight years.
"Russian troops moving into Donbas would not be a new step," he said. "We'll continue to pursue diplomacy until the tanks roll."
- 12:01am Paris time
US, allies request emergency UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine Monday
The United States and allies including France have requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council later Monday on Russia's recognition of separatist territories in Ukraine as independent, according to diplomats.
The countries behind the request for the meeting, based on a letter from Ukraine to the UN, also include the United Kingdom, Ireland and Albania, the same sources said.
It is up to the rotating presidency of the Council, currently held by Russia, to formally schedule the meeting.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)