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Live news: UK prepares for immediate sanctions on Russia

Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, had spoken to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to discuss “the deteriorating situation in and around Ukraine”, Downing Street said on Monday evening.

“Outlining his grave concern at recent developments in the region, the Prime Minister told President Zelensky that he believed an invasion was a real possibility in the coming hours and days,” Johnson’s office said.

Earlier, the government announced that the UK would be immediately imposing sanctions on Moscow’s recognition of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent republics, said Johnson told Zelensky he “strongly condemned” the Kremlin’s decision.

“He added that the UK was already engaging with partners on the issue and said the UK would raise it at the United Nations Security Council and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in the coming days,” Downing Street added.

Measures to target those complicit in the “violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity” would come into force on Tuesday, Johnson told Zelensky.

“The Prime Minister also said he would explore sending further defensive support to Ukraine, at the request of the Ukrainian Government,” Downing Street added.

The leaders agreed that the west needed to support Ukraine in the event of an invasion but should continue to pursue a diplomatic solution “until the last possible second”.

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