Ukraine crisis: Biden and world leaders react to Putin's recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent
President Biden at a meeting of the National Security Council regarding Russia’s military buildup on the borders of Ukraine.

Reacting to Putin’s address where he signed a decree granting Donetsk and Luhansk independence, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that he has discussed “the events of the last hours” with President Biden and that he will talk with Boris Johnson.

Zelenskiy is expected to address the nation shortly.


  • According to the White House, President Biden “strongly condemned Putin’s decision to purportedly recognize the independence of the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine.
  • Biden updated President Zelenskyy on the United States’ response, including his plan to issue sanctions.

During the press conference at Downing Street, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said things are heading in the wrong direction. “I think it’s a very ill omen and a very dark sign,” he added. 

Liz Truss condemned Putin’s recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk, the breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as a “flagrant disregard for Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements.”


  • President Biden held a secure call with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy this afternoon from 14:05 to 14:40 EST.
  • President Biden convened a secure call at 15:17 EST with French President Macron and German Chancellor Scholz. They spoke for approximately 30 minutes.

President Biden has been briefed, and Press Secretary Psaki issued a statement saying that they have “anticipated a move like this from Russia and are ready to respond immediately.”

President Biden will sign an executive order to “prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by US persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine.” She added that “this EO will also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine.”

Today’s E.O. prohibits: 

  • New investment in the so-called DNR or LNR regions of Ukraine by a United States person, wherever located;
  • The importation into the United States, directly or indirectly, of any goods, services, or technology from the so-called DNR or LNR regions of Ukraine;
  • The exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any goods, services, or technology to the so-called DNR or LNR regions of Ukraine;
  • And any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be covered by these prohibitions if performed by a United States person or within the United States.

Additional measures to follow, according to Psaki. “To be clear: these measures are separate from and would be in addition to the swift and severe economic measures we have been preparing in coordination with Allies and partners should Russia further invade Ukraine.”

Blinken issued a statement anticipating a “swift and firm response” in coordination with partners.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned Putin’s recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk and called on Moscow to “choose diplomacy” in a statement.

Stoltenberg said that Putin’s decision “erodes efforts to resolve the conflict and violates Minsk agreements.” He added “NATO supports Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Ursula von der Leyen said that “the recognition of the two separatist territories in Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law, the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the #Minsk agreements.” She added that “The EU and its partners will react with unity, firmness and with determination in solidarity with Ukraine.”

The Kremlin announced that Vladimir Putin had telephone conversations with President of France Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

During an hour-long televised address, Putin accused NATO and the US of turning Ukraine into a theater of war. Calling Ukraine’s government a “puppet regime,” Putin said that with Soviet nuclear know-how, Ukraine intends to create its nuclear weapons. He accused Ukraine of being under foreign management and corrupt.

*This is a developing story. We’ll give updates on rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine as we learn more.


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