Russian President Vladimir Putin told the German chancellor that he plans to recognize the independence of two Moscow-backed breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Monday.
Putin had not yet signed the decree that would confer Russia's official recognition on Donetsk and Luhansk, but he intended to do so, the Kremlin said, adding that the Russian leader would address the nation on Monday evening.
French President Emmanuel Macron had also been informed of the plans, the Kremlin said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had warned Putin against taking such a provocative step during a telephone call earlier on Monday, according to a spokesperson for Scholz.
The European Union's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the bloc will react "with a strong united front" if Russia recognizes the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent entities.
'Respect international law'
"We call upon [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to respect international law and the Minsk agreements and expect him not to recognize the independence of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts," Borrell said at a press conference in Brussels.
"If there is an annexation, there will be sanctions," Borrell said. "I will put them on the table and the ministers will decide."