European Union leaders said Monday that the bloc will react with sanctions against those involved in Russia's recognition of eastern Ukraine's Lugansk and Donetsk regions as independent states.
In a press statement, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said they condemn the decision by Russia to recognize the two regions as "independent entities."
"This step is a blatant violation of international law as well as of the Minsk agreements," said the statement. "The Union will react with sanctions against those involved in this illegal act."
Hours before the announcement of Russia's recognition of the two regions, the European Union's foreign policy chief Josep Borell had warned of sanctions on Russia should it recognize the regions in eastern Ukraine.
"Certainly, if there is annexation there will be sanctions, and if there is recognition I will put the sanctions on the table and the ministers will decide," Borell said during a press conference after a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers in Brussels.