The following statement was released by the U.S. State Department on February 21. It is attributed to U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.
We strongly condemn [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin’s decision to recognize the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” as “independent.” As we said when the Duma first made its request: 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.
States have an obligation not to recognize a new “state” created through the threat or use of force, as well as an obligation not to disrupt another state’s borders. Russia’s decision is yet another example of President Putin’s flagrant disrespect for international law and norms.
[U.S.] President [Joe] Biden will sign an Executive Order that will prohibit all new investment, trade and financing by U.S. persons to, from or in the so-called “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” regions of Ukraine. We will continue to coordinate with Ukraine and our allies and partners to take appropriate steps in response to this unprovoked and unacceptable action by Russia. The E.O. is designed to prevent Russia from profiting off of this blatant violation of international law. 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. We stand with our Ukrainian partners in strongly condemning President Putin’s announcement.