The United States and its allies are already working on a tough package of sanctions to punish Russia for attacking Ukraine. These are financial, technical and military sanctions. They can be fitted within hours in the event of military escalation, The New York Times reports.
The paper relied on talks with US and European officials, who revealed details about sanctions that could follow a possible Russian offensive. The US is deliberately leaking plans to influence Russian President Vladimir Putin. Then he will know what sanctions he may face.
Weapons for Ukrainian guerrillas
The US and other Western countries are very concerned about the creation of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine. They fear that Moscow is considering invading that Eastern European country. The list of possible sanctions includes the addition of anti-Russian guerrillas to Ukraine if it really comes to an invasion, writes the newspaper.
Washington is said to have consulted with aides about the possibility of cutting major Russian financial institutions from international payments. Those plans have now been leaked on the eve of the summit meetings to prevent them from going ahead.
Concerns about counseling
Russia is in talks with the US and NATO this week. Among other things, Moscow wants a guarantee that neighboring Ukraine cannot join that alliance. Since the collapse of the communist Soviet Union, several other former Soviet states have joined NATO, a concern of Russia. Moscow has already said it will “make no concessions” during the talks.
The US is not sure of the successful outcome of the upcoming talks. According to The New York Times, diplomats fear that the Russians may later announce that their concerns have not been adequately addressed. This can serve as a justification for taking military action.
Americans will be watching closely the impact of the sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014. This happened after the annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea. The White House later concluded that those measures were harmful to the Russian economy, but not so painful that Putin was forced to back down.
This time it should be different. One insider called the planned sanctions a “quick, high-impact response that we didn’t opt for in 2014”.
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