Washington —President Biden intends to impose sanctions against two Russia-backed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine as a quick response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to recognise the regions as independent. The White House announced Monday.

Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, stated in a statement, that Mr. Biden would “soon” issue an executive order prohibiting “new investment, commerce and financing by U.S. persons” in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic or Luhansk People’s Republic. Both are located in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas.

Psaki stated that Mr. Biden’s order will allow him to impose sanctions against “anyone determined to operate within those areas of Ukraine”. He also said that the administration will “announce additional steps related to today’s blatant violation by Russia of its international commitments.”

She stated, “To be precise: these measures are distinct from and would be in additional to the rapid and severe economic actions we have been preparing with Allies and Partners should Russia further invade Ukraine.”

Biden’s administration had warned that Putin’s move to recognize Luhansk/Donetsk as independents would be met by a swift and firm response from the U.S. along with its allies.

Soon after Putin’s announcement, which was a latest escalation of tensions between Russia, Ukraine, and Russia, Mr. Biden held a secure conference call with French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. According to the White House, the call lasted approximately 30 minutes and took place after President Putin spoke for 35 minutes with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s President.

The White House stated that Mr. Biden called Zelensky “to reaffirm the commitment by the United States to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” as well as “strongly condemned” Putin’s recognition of the disputed territory.

Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, stated that Putin’s decision to recognize these territories was “a clear assault on Ukraine’s sovereignty & territorial integrity” and “yet more evidence of President Putin’s flagrant disregard for international law & norms.”

Blinken stated that “our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the government and peoples of Ukraine, is unwavering.” “We stand by our Ukrainian partners and strongly condemn President Putin’s announcement.”

The United States will be penalized in the future for the actions of the two countries. However, the European Union stated that it would impose sanctions against those who are involved in the illegal act.

In a statement, President Charles Michel of European Council and President Ursula von der Leyen of European Commission stated that “this step is a flagrant violation of international law also of the Minsk accords.”

Russia has gathered around 190,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. Mr. Biden said Friday that he was “convinced by Putin’s decision to invade.” But, top Biden administration officials have been pushing Moscow towards a diplomatic route instead of war.

Putin’s Monday move, which came after an extraordinary public meeting with his security council, shows that Putin isn’t interested at negotiating with the West in order to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis.

Last week, Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, warned that Donetsk and Luhansk would be recognized as independent and “undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial independance” and a “gross breach of international law.” He stated that such a move would require a quick and firm response by the United States, in full coordination and cooperation with our allies.