United States President Joe Biden on Tuesday imposed the first tranche of financial sanctions against Russia, claiming that Moscow has started invading Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The restrictions were announced after Russian President Vladimir Putin allowed ordered troops to be deployed in eastern Ukraine. On Monday, Putin had said he recognised the independence of separatists in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Biden on Tuesday said that the country was implementing comprehensive sanctions on Moscow’s sovereign debt. A government issues sovereign debt in a foreign currency to finance the issuing country’s growth and development.

“That means we’ve cut off Russia’s government from Western financing,” he said. “It can no longer raise money from the West and cannot trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either.”

He added that the United States, in coordination with its allies, was “implementing full blocking sanctions on two large Russian financial institutions: VEB [Russian state development corporation] and their military bank”.

Biden added Moscow has now “undeniably moved against Ukraine by declaring these independent states”, according to Reuters. “This is the beginning of invasion,” he said.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Putin did not watch Biden’s speech and that he will examine what the United States has outlined before responding.

Meanwhile, Biden said that he was deploying additional troops to the Baltic region, but described them as purely defensive, according to The Associated Press. The country is sending about 800 infantry personnel and 40 attack aircraft to the eastern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, a defence official told the agency.

Several countries have reacted sharply to Putin’s decisions, with some even imposing sanctions.

On Tuesday, Germany suspended the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia.

The 1,200-kilometre pipeline, which has been built to bring gas from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea, has been completed but is yet to get regulatory approval. The pipeline systems have been opposed by the United States and Ukraine as they fear that they may increase Russia’s influence in Europe.

The European Union announced sanctions against the 351 legislators from the Duma, or the lower House of Russia’s parliament, who voted in favour of recognition to separatist regions in Ukraine. The bloc also imposed sanctions against 27 other Russian officials and institutions from the sectors of defence and banking.

“This package of sanctions … will hurt Russia and it will hurt a lot,” Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said, according to The Associated Press.

The United Kingdom also imposed sanctions on billionaires with alleged close links to Putin. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the assets held by Gennady Timchenko, Igor Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg in the UK will be frozen and the billionaires will not be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom.

Russia-Ukraine tensions

Since early this year, Russia has amassed over 1 lakh troops at the Ukrainian border. Reports also said that 30,000 more troops are engaged in exercises in Belarus, close to its border with Ukraine.

The two countries have been engaged in a conflict since 2014 when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and backed separatist rebellions in the country’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Russia has consistently maintained that it has no plans to invade Ukraine. Last week, there were reports that the country was pulling back some of its troops from the border. But, the United States and allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, have rejected these claims.

On Monday, Moscow claimed that it has killed five Ukrainian “saboteurs” who had crossed into Russia. Ukraine, however, has denied the claims.