Western allies imposed a raft of sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, in response to Russian recognition of two breakaway republics in the east of Ukraine.
Britain unveiled a "first tranche" of sanctions against Russian entities and individuals on Tuesday, with the EU announcing its own sanctions targeting economic, political, military, business and media sectors.
Meanwhile Germany said it is halting certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a vital energy connection for Russia, as US President Joe Biden announced a new round of American sanctions against Russian oligarchs and banks.
Follow all of Tuesday's key developments here:
The key points to know
- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday night recognised the independence of the so-called Donestk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic — two separatist-held areas in eastern Ukraine.
- He signed a decree to dispatch Russian troops for "peacekeeping functions" in the regions.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the nation in a televised address: "We are not afraid of anyone or anything".
- The UK and EU announced a raft of sanctions against economic, political, military, business and media sectors.
- President Biden says the US will redeploy some US troops in the region, and target Russian finances with sanctions.
- Germany is halting certification of Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a vital energy connection for Russia.
- The EU says it has prepared contingency plans in case of an exodus of refugees from Ukraine.
President Biden announces sanctions against Russian oligarchs and banks
US President Joe Biden announced the US was ordering heavy financial sanctions against Russian banks and oligarchs on Tuesday, declaring that Moscow had flagrantly violated international law by invading Ukraine.
“None of us will be fooled” by Russian President Vladimir Putin's claims about Ukraine, the US President said. And he said more sanctions could be on the way if Putin proceeds further.
Biden said he was also moving additional American troops to the Baltic states on NATO’s eastern flank bordering Russia.
President Biden joined the 27 European Union members who unanimously agreed on Tuesday to levy their own initial set of sanctions targeting Russian officials over their actions in Ukraine.
Ukraine's Defence Minister in Washington for talks with US Administration
Austin told Kuleba it was an honor to meet with him at "this critical, critical moment in history" and that "Russia's latest invasion is threatening the peace, security and prosperity of Ukraine and of the transatlantic community."
"I'm looking forward to discussing with you the continuation of our partnership", and a "strong Ukraine is the best deterrence of Russia" he said.
The Biden administration was initially hesitating to use the term "invasion" - a red line that President Joe Biden has said would result in the US levying severe sanctions against Moscow. However on Tuesday Jon Finer, the principal deputy national security adviser, said "We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia's latest invasion into Ukraine."
Northern Europe 'Joint Expeditionary Force' members meet to discuss regional security situation
Poland says heavy sanctions should be inflicted on Russia
Russia announces evacuation of diplomatic staff from Ukraine
EU making contingency plans to cope with any influx of refugees from Ukraine
The European Union is getting ready to take in refugees from Ukraine, as fears grow that Russia's military aggression could soon cause a wave of migrants seeking shelter in EU countries.
Poland, a neighbouring country, has said it is willing to host them.
Speaking to Euronews from Warsaw, Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for home affairs, said contingency plans are already in place.
"The focus has been on the contingency planning for the very dangerous situation in Ukraine. We don't know what would be the next step of Putin, but we have to be prepared if there will be a massive inflow of refugees of Ukrainians into the European Union. And Poland is, of course, a key country here," she said.
"We are looking into the support from the EU asylum agency with processing asylum applications, the support from Frontex with registration and border management, and the support from Europol as well."
Johansson avoided giving figures on how many asylum-seekers the bloc was expecting in case of a military invasion but stressed the EU's unity was "very strong and determined."