The failure of weeks of intense diplomacy to defuse the growing crisis between Russia and the West over Ukraine is apparent with the imposition by the United States and several allies of new sanctions. Their moves are intended to punish Moscow for what is claimed to be the beginning of an invasion of the former Soviet territory. Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier ordered peacekeeping troops into the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, which his country has recognised as independent over Kyiv’s claims of sovereignty. Although big power politics are at play, at the root of the issue is security, a point State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi highlighted in a phone call with his US counterpart, Antony Blinken. Penalties against Russian banks and elites were announced by the United States, European Union, Britain and Australia, while Germany halted a major gas pipeline project. The moves are on top of waves of sanctions imposed against Moscow since 2014, when it ordered troops into and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Putin has denied the deployment of what the West estimates are 150,000 soldiers along its eastern border are in preparation for an invasion. A planned summit between Putin and US President Joe Biden to ease the crisis would no longer take place, the White House contended on Tuesday. China’s upgraded relations with Russia do not mean it can take sides on a matter of sovereignty. But while Beijing strictly adheres to a policy of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other nations, the Ukraine issue is of wider significance. Ukraine crisis: why the word ‘invasion’ matters, as Russian troops move in That is why the foreign ministry has stressed the legitimate security concerns of countries have to be respected and taken seriously. The West’s Nato security alliance expanded five times from 1997 to 2020, taking in 14 members that moved it ever-closer to Russia’s borders and Ukraine has been promised that when the time is right, it will also be allowed to join. Although Ukraine is not a Nato member, the US has already been redeploying air and ground forces closer to Russia’s borders. Coupled with the rhetoric of Biden’s administration, tensions are high. There is every need for all sides to show restraint and negotiate a settlement, with the UN Security Council taking the lead.