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EU agrees Russia sanctions package, warns of further action******
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a statement following the conclusion of an EU Foreign Ministers' meeting on the crisis in Ukraine, in Brussels, on February 22, 2022.
The European Union is ready to take further action against Russia if it continues to escalate the crisis, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned on Tuesday.
In a statement, von der Leyen said EU member states had given their political consent to a new package of sanctions against Russia following its recognition of the independence of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
The package contains a number of "calibrated measures" targeting banks that finance the Russian military apparatus and contribute to the destabilization of Ukraine.
It also bans trade between the two breakaway regions and the EU, as it did with Crimea in 2014, and limits the Russian government's ability to raise capital on the EU's financial markets.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday evening signed decrees recognizing the independence of two self-proclaimed regions in eastern Ukraine's Donbass as "the Lugansk People's Republic" and "the Donetsk People's Republic."
Russia has done everything to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine by fighting for the implementation of 2015 Minsk agreement, but all the efforts ended up in vain, Putin said on Monday.
The security crisis occurred due to NATO's eastward expansion, which has led to the loss of mutual trust with Russia, he noted.
According to Josep Borrell, EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the package comprises sanctions against 351 members of the Russian State Duma (lower house of the country's Federal Assembly) who voted to recognize the two regions.
The EU will also "target 27 individuals and entities who are playing a role in undermining or threatening Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence," he said.
Furthermore, the sanctions aim to target the Russian state's ability to access the EU's capital and financial markets and services.
"If Russia continues to escalate this crisis that it has created, we are ready to take further action in response," von der Leyen said.
On the controversial Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, von der Leyen said she believed that the German government was "absolutely right" to stop the project, which must be assessed in light of the security of energy supply for all of Europe.
"This crisis shows that Europe is still too dependent on Russian gas. We have to diversify our suppliers and massively invest in renewables. This is a strategic investment in our energy independence," she said.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine began in April 2014 with fightings between the Ukrainian government troops and local armed groups who seized several towns.
With the mediation of the global community, the two sides in Belarus' capital of Minsk reached ceasefire agreements in September 2014 and February 2015 respectively.
Russia has been seeking NATO's guarantee to halt eastward expansion. However, US President Joe Biden's administration took a hard line against Russia, supporting Ukraine's efforts to join the US-led military alliance and increasing its military assistance to Ukraine, which has re-escalated tensions in the region.
The situation in eastern Ukraine has been getting worse since February 17, as the Ukrainian government and local armed groups blamed each other for launching aggressive bombards.
China calls for calm as Russian move escalates Ukraine crisis******
The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called on all parties in the Ukraine issue to remain calm, ease tensions and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiations.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a daily press briefing in Beijing.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a telephone conversation with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier in the day, expounding China's stance on the Ukraine crisis.
"China is concerned about the evolving situation in Ukraine, and China's position on the Ukraine issue is consistent," the spokesperson quoted the foreign minister as saying, noting that the legitimate security concerns of any country should be respected, and the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter should be upheld.
He said the current situation in Ukraine is closely related to the delay in the effective implementation of the new Minsk Agreements, and China will continue to make contacts with all relevant parties according to the merits of the matter itself.
China once again calls on all parties to exercise restraint, realize the importance of implementing the "indivisibility of security" principle, ease tensions and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiations as the situation in Ukraine is getting worse, the spokesperson said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed two decrees recognizing "the Lugansk People's Republic" and "the Donetsk People's Republic" as independent and sovereign states.
"I consider it necessary to make a long overdue decision – to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the DPR and the LPR," Putin said in a televised address to the nation.
The crisis of European security occurred due to the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has led to the loss of mutual trust with Russia, Putin stressed.
He called it just "a matter of time" for NATO to accept Ukraine as a member state and then build facilities on its territory so that the level of military threats to Russia will rise dramatically.
As Moscow asked the US and NATO for security guarantees, the Western countries precisely ignored Russia's fundamental concerns and nothing has changed in their position, Putin noted.
In such a condition, Russia "has every right to take retaliatory measures to ensure its own security," the president said.
Russia's move caused a diplomatic and economic backlash on Tuesday after Putin ordered his forces into Ukraine to secure the two regions.
Germany announced that it was halting certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia and said the European Union would adopt "robust and massive" economic sanctions.
Britain slapped sanctions on five Russian banks and three billionaires, in what Prime Minister Boris Johnson called "the first barrage" of measures in response to the Kremlin's actions in Ukraine.
The five banks targeted – Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank – and three people sanctioned will see any UK assets frozen.
The individuals concerned – Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg – will be banned from traveling to Britain and all United Kingdom individuals and entities will be banned from dealing with them and the banks.
The US will also impose sanctions on Moscow, a White House spokesperson said on Tuesday without giving details.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday expressed deep concern over Russia's move on Donetsk and Lugansk.
The UN chief called for "peaceful settlement" of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, in accordance with the Minsk Agreements.
"The secretary-general considers the decision of the Russian Federation to be a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations," said the statement.
China's permanent representative to the UN, Zhang Jun, on Monday called on all parties to seek "reasonable solutions."
"We welcome and encourage every effort for a diplomatic solution, and call on all parties concerned to continue dialogue and consultation, and seek reasonable solutions to address each other's concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect," Zhang told the Security Council emergency meeting, called at the request of Kiev, the US, five European nations and Mexico.
"China has been paying close attention to the latest development of the situation in Ukraine. We have fully elaborated on our position at the previous two meetings of the Security Council," Zhang said.
华为MateBook 13/14 2020锐龙版开启预售!******
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CSL Roundup: Qingdao edges Tianjin, Shenhua eases past Chongqing******
SUZHOU, China, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Qingdao edged the Tianjin Jinmen Tigers 2-1, while Shenhua defeated Chongqing 4-1 in the 17th round of the Chinese Super League (CSL) on Saturday.。
Qingdao broke the deadlock in the 18th minute, with Ji Xiaoxuan scoring for the tailender team. On 55 minutes, Ba Dun of Tianjin equalized through a low shot.。
Twenty-five minutes later, Qingdao's striker Ji Xiaoxuan scored again with a game-winner.。
Elsewhere on Saturday, Shenhua defeated Chongqing 4-1, with Peng Xinli, Yu Hanchao, Wu Xi and Zhang Lu scoring for the leader in the relegation zone.。
Wuhan drew with the Henan Songshan Longmen 1-1 dramatically in the last 10 minutes, while the Cangzhou Lions beat the Dalian Pro 2-1. Enditem。