US imposes new Russia sanctions as Biden condemns ‘invasion’ of Ukraine

The US, EU, and the UK have imposed economic sanctions on Russia after its forces began to cross the Ukrainian border

The US has hit Russia with wide-ranging sanctions after the country sent troops into two rebel-held parts of eastern Ukraine.

US President Joe Biden called it "the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine… We've cut off Russia's government from Western financing,” Biden said.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into two rebel-held parts of eastern Ukraine. Russia had recognised the regions as independent, a move Ukraine said attacks its sovereignty.

According to the BBC, satellite imagery over the past 24 hours has shown several new troop and equipment deployments in western Russia and more than 100 vehicles at an airfield in Belarus near Ukraine's border.

Biden said that this was the first "tranche" of measures directly targeting the Russian state. "To put it simply, Russia just announced that it is carving out a big chunk of Ukraine."

The US has also banned American companies from dealing with the rebel-held Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, but few companies do.

The EU and the UK have also announced a wave of sanctions against Russian banks and individuals. 

US and European officials stressed that more action would follow if the situation deteriorated.

The US is also moving troops into Nato member states Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania on or near Russia's border.

So far, diplomatic efforts to avert the Ukraine crisis have failed, and Putin said that the Minsk agreements “do not exist.”

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier said he would consider cutting off diplomatic ties with Russia altogether over the crisis.

He said he was calling up military reserve members for training in an address - but also said Ukraine would still pursue a diplomatic solution.

Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine have seized large swathes of territory since fierce fighting broke out in 2014. An estimated 14,000 people - including many civilians - have since died.