Blinken Says 'Swift' Response Needed for Russia Recognizing New 'Republics'

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured a "swift and firm" response to Russian President Vladimir Putin recognizing the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine on Monday.

"Kremlin recognition of the so-called 'Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics' as 'independent' requires a swift and firm response," Blinken tweeted Monday afternoon. "We will take appropriate steps in coordination with partners."

In a statement, Blinken condemned Putin's decision and reiterated that the U.S. stands in support of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"This decision represents a complete rejection of Russia's commitments under the Minsk agreements, directly contradicts Russia's claimed commitment to diplomacy, and is a clear attack on Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Blinken said. "Russia's decision is yet another example of President Putin's flagrant disrespect for international law and norms."

Blinken said coordination will continue among the U.S., its allies and Ukraine to take "appropriate" steps in response to the move. President Joe Biden is set to sign an executive order prohibiting all new investment, trade and financing involving the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics regions of Ukraine.

Blinken at UN Security Council
Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for a "swift" response to Vladimir Putin recognizing separatist regions in Ukraine. Above, Blinken confers with U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield in the United Nations Security Council on February 17, 2022. Richard Drew/AP Photo

"The [executive order] is designed to prevent Russia from profiting off of this blatant violation of international law," Blinken said. "It is not directed at the people of Ukraine or the Ukrainian government and will allow humanitarian and other related activity to continue in these regions."

"Our support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as for the government and people of Ukraine is unwavering," his statement concluded.

Blinken addressed the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, warning of a "sharp and decisive" response in the event of a Russian invasion.

Russia delivered its written response to the United States Thursday morning, three weeks after the U.S. delivered its proposal detailing steps to address mutual security concerns.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Blinken are set to meet on February 24 in Europe; however, the meeting is contingent upon Russia not sending its troops into Ukraine before Thursday.

Earlier Monday, the State Department retweeted a security alert, again urging U.S. citizens in Ukraine to leave immediately.

"The security situation in Ukraine continues to be unpredictable throughout the country and may deteriorate with little notice," the alert read. "There is a strong likelihood that any Russian military operations would severely restrict commercial air travel."