Germany has announced it has closed Nord Stream 2 pipeline that was due to transport natural gas from Russia to Europe. It did this because of Russia's actions in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent countries. President Putin claimed Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic were separate nations. Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: "In light of most recent developments, we must reassess situation...regarding Nord Stream 2." He warned that Europe faced "difficult hours," and that, "almost 80 years after end of Second World War, we might see new war in Eastern Europe".
Nord Stream 2 is 1,200-km-long pipeline that runs under Baltic Sea. Closing it is one of many sanctions that Western nations have made against Russia. The United Kingdom announced first of its sanctions after Mr Putin said troops could enter two rebel-held regions of eastern Ukraine. U.K. will freeze assets of five Russian banks and three Russian billionaires (who have also been given travel bans). U.S. President Joe Biden has said USA would announce sanctions soon. Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said Russia was not planning to invade Ukraine. He told reporters: "No one is planning to send anything anywhere. If there is threat, then we will provide assistance."