New sanctions may await Russia if the Kremlin does not stop supporting separatists in the east of Ukraine.
The Unites States and their allies are working on a new sanction package, stated the assistant to the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who accused Moscow of supplying the separatists with tanks and missile systems, on Monday. Meanwhile Russia has introduced yet another resolution project to the UN Security Council, which contains the call to a ceasefire in the east of Ukraine, dialogue with the involvement of all sides and humanitarian aid to the population which has suffered from the results of military action.
When making a statement in the US Marshall Fund, Victoria Nuland mentioned that the issue of imposing new large-scale sanctions on Moscow has not been taken off the agenda. According to her, the Western allies “have agreed regarding the next round of sanctions and continue examining the candidacies of individual people which may be subject to sanctions.” Nuland also added that at the moment, fines are being developed to touch on the energy, bank and defence sector of the Russian economy. Judging from the statements of the Assistant Secretary of State, such actions are completely justifiable, as Russia is still supporting Ukrainian separatists. The US, said she, is constantly pointing out to Vladimir Putin that unless Russia changes its course, they will have to pay. According to diplomatic sources, Kyiv is calling for western capitals to broaden sanctions against Moscow, thinking that if there is enough proof of direct military support of separatists on Russia’s part, Washington and its allies has enough reason to increase sanctions. However, according to Richard Weitz, fellow of the Hudson Institute in Washington, so far the US and European Union prefer the tactic of waiting it out:
“The West has already imposed sanctions on Russia, and I am not sure it is ready to act any further. I have a feeling that the Western capitals are watching the events in Ukraine and trying to weigh the signs of escalation and signs of de-escalation of the Ukrainian crisis and understand what is happening there. I think the reflection of such an approach is the fact that the French are not refusing to sell the “Mistral” helicopter carriers to Russia. I suspect that new actions of part of Washington and its allies can only be expected in case new proof arises that Russia is lending active support to the separatists. Besides everything, the attention of the White House is now concentrated on what is happening in Iraq.”
US economist Richard Ebeling from the Northwood University in Michigan suspects that the economical fears of several European countries still remain a weighty argument preventing the broadening of sanctions.
“I think the US would probably want to impose additional sanctions against the Russian energy sector, banks, financial system, but it is still unknown how far the Europeans are ready to go on this path. It is known that German companies that have quiet broad relations with Russia, are pressuring Berlin, warning that Germany will also have to pay for the large-scale sanctions against Russia. I think that if Russia were to invade Ukraine, European leaders would be backed into a corner, and they would have nothing left to do but impose harsher sanctions against Moscow. But Putin, possibly feeling the threat, has recently decreased the temperature of his statements in order not to give direct grounds to impose sanctions.”
Meanwhile on Monday Russia has renewed its efforts in the UN Security Council to implement another resolution project, which contains the call to Kyiv and the separatists forces to cease fire, give humanitarian aid to the population of the eastern oblasts and behind national dialogue. So far Moscow’s Ukrainian initiatives in the Security Council have either yielded nothing, or public condemnation of Russia’s action by the vast majority of the members. The members of the Council, for example, refused to support the statement with the condemnation of the attack on the Russian embassy in Kyiv. Russia put the blame of obstruction on Lithuania, which, according to them, was the only one against the condemnation of the attack on the embassy. But, as the Vilnius ambassador in the UN Raimonda Murmokayte explained, the members of the Security Council considered that it was also necessary to condemn the destruction of the Ukrainian transportation jet, which Russia refused to do and preferred, according to Lithuania, to recall its statement.
The Russian initiatives in the UN have been doomed to fail up until now for one reason: Moscow is seen by the international community as a participant of the conflict, directly interested in its outcome. For example, Russia’s past two attempts to hand in a resolution with demands for a ceasefire and talks ended with nothing, because the Russian diplomats refused to add a point about regard for Ukrainian territorial integrity into their project. Russian representative in the UN Vitaliy Churkin announced on Monday that this wish was accounted for in the latest draft. However Lithuanian representative in the UN Security Council stated that her government will thoroughly examine this document to make sure that Russia has not excluded Crimea from the definition of Ukraine’s sovereign territory and the the legal government of Ukraine and their actions will not be equated to those of the illegal separatist groups.
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina