Japan on Wednesday announced sanctions on Russia as tensions escalate on the Ukraine border.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Moscow’s moves concerning Ukraine were an unacceptable violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and international law. 

“Russia’s actions very clearly damage Ukraine’s sovereignty and go against international law. We once again criticise these moves and strongly urge Russia to return to diplomatic discussions,” he said.

“The situation remains quite tense and we will continue to monitor it closely,” Kishida added, according to a report by news agency Reuters.

Also Read: Ukraine crisis: Sanctions against Russia unanimously approved by European Union

The statement comes a day after Moscow recognised separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk (or collectively known as Donbas), as independent entities and deployed troops for ‘peacekeeping’. The Russian upper house voted unanimously, allowing President Vladimir Putin to send army abroad, a move that could trigger an invasion in Ukraine.  

Further details and specifics regarding the Japanese sanctions will be worked out in the coming days. Addressing the country’s dependence on Moscow for energy supplies, PM Kishida said that Japan had sufficient oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) reserves, and if oil prices increase further, he would consider all measures to limit the impact on commercial and personal establishments. 

Japan would also remain in close contact with other G7 nations and the international community, he said.

Also Read: G7 countries warn of ‘massive consequences’ if Russia invades Ukraine

“Should the situation worsen, we’ll move quickly to take further action,” the PM added, reported Reuters. 

With this, Japan joins the likes of countries such as Canada, the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom that have announced sanctions in retaliation to Russia’s latest move. 

For instance, US President Joe Biden announced ‘the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on Russia in response to their actions’ in Ukraine. In an address from the White House, the Democrat described Russia President Vladimir Putin’s moves as the beginning of an invasion. He promised that more sanctions would be coming if Putin proceeds further.

Germany, on the other hand, has suspended the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline after Russia recognized separatist-held regions in eastern Ukraine, with the West fearing a full-scale invasion is next, reported AP.