Tokyo: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said his nation would join its Western allies in imposing harsh sanctions on Russia should it continue to behave aggressively or launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
That action was "unacceptable and a violation of international law," Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, told reporters. Kishida also called Putin on Thursday to urge restraint.
New sanctions by Japan, which would add to those imposed on Russia in 2014 after it occupied the Crimea, would include a ban on semiconductor chips and other key technology exports and tighter restrictions on Russian banks, the Yomiuri newspaper reported earlier.
The Russian President announced that the country would be recognising the separatist-dominated Ukranian regions of Lugansk and Donetsk as independent regions, paving the way for what the West has been warning is a plan for invasion.
Tanks and other military hardware moving through the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk after Putin formally recognised the breakaway regions and ordered the deployment of Russian forces to "keep the peace", Reuters reported.
America responded swiftly to the news, announcing sanctions on the so-called "independent" regions, halting all US imports and business deals with the areas. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told an emergency meeting of the Security Council that Moscow's recognition of the eastern regions was part of its attempt to create a pretext for a further invasion of Ukraine.
"Tomorrow, the United States will impose sanctions on Russia for this clear violation of international law and Ukraine sovereignty and territorial integrity," she told reporters after the Security Council meeting on Monday evening.
"We can, will, and must stand united in our calls for Russia to withdraw its forces, return to the diplomatic table and work toward peace," she said.
However the Russian envoy to the UN kept up a belligerent attitude and warned the West and its allies not to worsen the situation any further. The decision to recognise Lugansk and Donetsk as independent states was signed into a decree by Putin at a ceremony in Moscow yesterday.
The French and German Prime Minister's were told of the decision earlier, the Kremlin revealed today. In a lengthy televised address packed with grievances against the West, a visibly angry Putin said eastern Ukraine was ancient Russian land.