US imposes sanctions on Russia as Ukraine invasion ‘underway’ – follow live

‘Who in the Lord’s name does Putin think gives him the right’, says Joe Biden on imminent Russian invasion

Joe Biden has announced “full blocking sanctions” against Russia in response to actions in eastern Ukraine that he said amounted to a “flagrant violation of international law”.

The US president at a Washington DC press conference said part of the first tranche of sanctions would be in force as soon as tomorrow.

Mr Biden said: “We’re implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions, the VEB [a Russian state development corporation] and their military bank [Promsvyazbank].”

“Comprehensive sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt” means that “we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing,” he added.

He said this means Russia “can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.”

Sanctions will also be imposed on “Russian elites and their family members” from Wednesday, he also announced.

The US will “continue to escalate sanctions if Russia continues to escalate” – Mr Biden vowed.

Earlier, the White House said a Russian invasion of Ukraine is already underway, after the Kremlin had ordered troops into two separatist-controlled regions in Ukraine.

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