December 2, 2022

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New US and EU sanctions against Russia, from exports to financing

The package launched on Tuesday showed a remarkable, and perhaps surprising, unity among member states. There are those who fear that any more restrictive measures will lead to divisions between governments. The possibility is there, but the impression is that the desire to preserve the common European homeland in an international landscape that has become incredibly unstable and threatened must lead to cohesion. “We will not allow President Putin to destroy the security architecture that he gave to Europe, peace and stability,” added Ms. von der Leyen.

However, European military intervention is not on the agenda, even if Poland requests the activation of Article 4 of the NATO Treaty. The law states that the member states of the coalition “will consult with each other when one of them considers that the territorial integrity of one of the parties or the political independence or security of one of the parties is at risk.”

The Russian invasion of Ukraine surprised many European diplomats. We know that Washington has sounded the alarm several times in recent days. On this side of the Atlantic, the data available to European intelligence services coincided with that obtained by American intelligence, but 48-72 hours ago the interpretation of the data differed. The twenty-seven were convinced that President Putin would not launch an attack of this magnitude.

American reaction. Biden: Putin will pay a heavy price

Speaking live on television to the nation for more than half an hour and explaining the harsh US response, President Joe Biden: Sanctions on four other Russian state banks (worth $1 trillion), including the giant Vtb, and halving exports of technology items. to Russia. The United States also targeted 24 individuals and a Belarusian organization for supporting the Russian invasion. However, the American president does not unleash the most terrifying weapons, although he still leaves them “on the table”: personal sanctions against Putin himself and the exclusion of Moscow from the circle of rapid international transactions, with which not all European allies are dealt with. He seems to agree. He then launched a possibly unprecedented attack on the Kremlin leader, with whom he does not intend to speak, invoking the “now complete break in relations between the United States and Russia”: Putin “chose this war that had been planned for months” with “ambitions beyond Ukraine to re-establish The Soviet Union” and “Now he and his country will pay the consequences,” he accused the American president, convinced that the Russian leader “will become a pariah on the international scene.”

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The American actions are heavy – even if not so heavy – because now that deterrence has failed, the goal is to “accuse Russia of its responsibilities” and make Vladimir Putin pay, bringing the economy of his village. The United States had already launched a series of gradual measures, from banning economic activities in the Donbass to sanctions against two banks, sovereign debt and some members of the Russian elite, before also targeting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, hitting one of the Kremlin’s key projects to strengthen Europe’s control over energy. But it did not prevent the worst-case scenario, a large-scale invasion of Ukraine while the UN meeting to avert it was still underway.