UPDATED 8:32 AM PT – Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Joe Biden is trying to take a stand against Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Late Monday night, the White House confirmed Biden signed an executive order aiming to impose costs on Putin. The order prohibits new investments in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk from the U.S. and also blocks U.S. goods from entering the area.
The measure also imposes sanctions on leaders and officials operating in the Donbas region. Meanwhile, the Treasury Department is working to get humanitarian aid to residents of Donbas and to make sure “Russia doesn’t profit from its blatant violations of international law.”
President Biden’s timid sanctions tonight are wholly unequal to this moment. Russia is invading Ukraine now. The time has come for the “swift and severe” sanctions that Joe Biden has long threatened but refused to impose. There is not a minute to lose.
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) February 22, 2022
Japan appears ready to join in on the U.S.- led sanctions on Russia. During a briefing Tuesday, Japan said it will follow the U.S. and other G7 nations in placing sanctions on Russia should there be an invasion of Ukraine. New sanctions by the country would include a ban on semiconductor chips and tighter restrictions on Russian banks.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called on Putin to urge restraint as the crisis deepens. During the briefing, Kishida expressed his concern over how Ukraine’s situation may affect Japan’s economy. His remarks came after Putin ordered troops into two breakaway regions and now recognizes them as separate states.
Putin dispatched troops to rebel-held areas in Eastern Ukraine, while referring to them as “peacekeepers.” He signed an executive order to send Russian military to Donetsk and Luhansk after recognizing their sovereignty from Ukraine.
Shortly after, videos circulated on social media purportedly showing convoys of Russian troops entering rebel-held areas of the Donbas region. This comes as thousands of Donbas residents are fleeing to Russia amid reports of artillery barrages by the Ukrainian military.
— Jake Hanrahan (@Jake_Hanrahan) February 21, 2022
Nonetheless, Putin claims Russia’s goal is to restore peace and end bloodshed in Donetsk and Luhansk.
“We demand from those who captured and hold the power in Kyiv to immediately end the combat activities,” he stated. “Otherwise, all responsibility for the possible continuation of the bloodshed will be entirely on the conscience of the regime ruling the territory of Ukraine.”
According to a Washington Post survey from last month, half of respondents in the Donbas region said it did not matter where they lived, whether in Russia or Ukraine.