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US adds to Western sanctions on Russia as Ukraine crisis intensifies

US adds to Western sanctions on Russia as Ukraine crisis intensifies
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MOSCOW/DONETSK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced new sanctions in retaliation for Russia’s recognition of two breakaway regions in Ukraine and sending troops there, adding to Western efforts to halt what they fear is the start of a full-scale invasion.

The measures target Russian banks and sovereign debt, among other steps.

One of Europe’s worst security crises in decades is unfolding as Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized the dispatch of what he calls peacekeepers to the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk after recognizing them as independent.

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Weeks of intense diplomacy have so far failed as Moscow calls for security guarantees, including a promise that its neighbor Ukraine will never join NATO, while the United States and its allies offer Putin steps to build confidence and arms control.

“It creates a justification for seizing more territory by force,” Biden said at the White House.

“I will start imposing sanctions in response, far exceeding the steps that we and our allies and partners took in 2014,” he added, referring to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

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Additional reporting by Tom Palmforth in Moscow and Polina Nikolskaya in Donetsk and Reuters; Written by Timothy Heritage, Peter Graf, Angus McSwan, and Costas Petsas; Editing by Kevin Levy and Grant McCall

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