Germany has put a stop to a key Russian gas pipeline following Vladimir Putin’s orders to send troops into Ukraine.
On Monday the Russian president recognised two breakaway Ukrainian regions as independent states and ordered Russian troops to deploy to both.
Western nations largely see the action as a pretext for a wider invasion.
In response, Germany halted approval of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and other Western nations issued sanctions.
Sanctions can take various forms – the term can refer to many actions used by one country to harm another, usually to deter aggressive actions or breaches of international law.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline has been supported by Germany despite opposition from countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Poland and Ukraine. It cost €10bn (£8.4bn), with the funding split between Russian and Western energy companies.
But following Putin’s order to send troops to the rebel-held Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, Germany announced it was suspending the process of giving the pipeline between it and Russia an operating licence – effectively stopping the project until further notice.
The move is notable as Russia supplies Europe with about 40 per cent of its gas, sourced from vast supplies in Russia’s east.
“This is a morally, politically and practically correct step in the current circumstances,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote, welcoming the decision. “True leadership means tough decisions in difficult times. Germany’s move proves just that.” (BBC)