UN Security Council convene, calls for sanctions as Ukraine’s president says international borders remain intact.
An urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council is set to convene after Russia recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and hours later said it would deploy troops there to “maintain peace”.
The United States said the Russian move was an “unprovoked violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and backed Ukraine’s call for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.
The meeting is expected to take place at 02:00 GMT and could be an open meeting.
Western countries have repeatedly warned Russia not to officially recognize the separatist regions in Donetsk and Luhansk, and undermining the fragile ‘Minsk’ peace agreement in an area that is thought to be home to some four million people.
Russia has been massing its forces around Ukraine’s borders for weeks, raising concern among the US and other Western governments that might be planning to invade the country. Moscow has insisted it has no plans to do so.
Here are the latest updates:
UN Security Council to meet after Russia move
The United Nations Security Council is due to meet in just over an hour’s time over the Ukraine crisis.
Ukraine called for the meeting and was backed by the United States, as well as other countries.
Russia holds the rotating presidency of the council this month.
Al Jazeera’s Shihab Rattansi, who is in Washington, DC, says that there was some debate over the format of the meeting, with Russia wanting a closed-door session and other countries led by the US pushing for an open discussion.
UK to announce ‘significant’ Russia sanctions on Tuesday
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce a “significant package of sanctions” in a few hours time.
A spokesperson told the Reuters news agency that the sanctions will be agreed to at a meeting of the United Kingdom government crisis response committee at 06:30 GMT and take immediate effect.
‘Brazen’: US calls for urgent UN Security Council meeting
Calling Russia’s move to recognize Luhansk and Donetsk a “brazen attempt to usurp Ukraine’s sovereignty”, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations has backed Ukraine’s call for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.
“The Security Council must demand that Russia respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, a UN Member State,” Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement.
“There can be no fence-sitters in this crisis,” she warned.
We support Ukraine’s call for an urgent meeting of the @UN Security Council. We must all stand with Ukraine in the face of Russia’s brazen attempt to usurp Ukraine’s sovereign territory. There can be no fence-sitters in this crisis. https://t.co/SI81WBLkmZ
– Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (@USAmbUN) February 21, 2022
Russia to sign military cooperation deals with breakaway regions
Russia’s lower house of parliament will consider draft laws to provide military cooperation and border protection to the breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine later on Tuesday.
An agreement signed by Putin and published on Monday shows Russia also plans to build military bases in Donetsk and Luhansk.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine crisis. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
Read all the updates from Monday, February 21 here.