Twenty-four hours to ratify a unity not to be taken for granted and not to give the Kaiser the edge of a divided Europe. The wave of anti-Russian sanctions is the common denominator of the first reactions of the United States, Great Britain and the European Union to the challenge unleashed by Vladimir Putin in the Ukraine crisis. And if tough measures are announced for Washington and London, it will not be at all for a union divided between those who even a few hours earlier proclaimed the Line of Wisdom and those, like the Baltic states, immediately demanded firmness. In the end, at the informal meeting of foreign ministers in Paris, the EU found a balance by adopting a package of sanctions that are substantial but do not affect Putin himself. Appeal to Old Continent’s strongest response to Moscow yet: the stop at Nord Stream 2 announced by Berlin. It was Chancellor Olaf Schulz’s decision that paved the way for European unity. In the middle of the morning, the head of the German government announced “severe and severe sanctions” and ordered a halt to the process of reviewing the pipeline by the German regulator.
This step did not go unnoticed in European advisers, because it came from one of the countries that – along with France and Italy – spent the most on the line of dialogue with Moscow. Early in the morning, the meeting of 27 EU ambassadors (Coreper II) had already given the green light to impose sanctions against a wide range of individuals and entities involved in the annexation of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as a halt. For trade between the European Union and Donbass. But, just over an hour after Schulze’s intervention, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel published a much more list of actions in a joint statement, including those against the Russian banks that financed operations in the Donbass. and limited access to EU markets from Moscow. Compared to the scheme drawn up by Brussels in 2014 to mark the crisis in Crimea, it is another step in the direction of a harsh reaction against the Kremlin.
“This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.” Joe Biden drops the warning in the hours after Vladimir Putin’s recognition of the Donbass and turns to the Americans to explain that war is one step away, and it can reach “as far as Kiev.” And NATO shares the alarm, saying that Russia has “now moved to military action”. However, the tsar’s response, once again, keeps everyone on edge: on the one hand, he put his forces on alert, and on the other, he launched a new challenge, recognizing the sovereignty of the separatists “over the whole region”. Lugansk and Donetsk. As for Kiev, the intentions are very clear: Volodymyr Zelensky warned that “the resurrection of the Soviet Union”, who promised to seriously defend the unity of his country. Putin’s dramatic turnaround in the Ukraine crisis is a source of grave concern in the White House.
Ukraine and Biden: Deploying more US forces in the Baltic states
Biden, whose first reaction was limited to denouncing Moscow’s “violation of international obligations,” addressed the nation on a stronger note. The US president explained that the actions in Donbas amounted to “the beginning of the invasion” and the Russians might decide to launch large-scale attacks on various Ukrainian cities, “including the capital, Kiev,” and announced a two-pronged response. On the other hand, the penalties are much more severe than those imposed for the annexation of Crimea. And on the military front, with the “additional deployment” of US forces in the Baltic states that are members of NATO, while Washington continues to “supply Kiev with defensive weapons.”
Ukraine and Biden: We begin to impose sanctions in response to the Russian invasion
Biden warned that America and its allies remain open to diplomacy, but “as long as it is serious diplomacy.” However, it seems that Zelensky no longer believes in more serious diplomacy on the part of Moscow. After absorbing Putin’s tears for the rebellious republics, he addressed the nation in a sincere tone. Zelensky warned that the Russian authorities want to “revive the Soviet Union,” referring to the imperial policy pursued by Putin in Chechnya, Georgia, and even Crimea. Hence he renewed his appeals to the West for “clear support”, but at the same time stressed that Ukraine was “ready to defend itself”, because “we are not afraid of Russia.”
As for Putin, he continued to flex his muscles. In the wake of a river speech in which even Lenin annoyed to liquidate the Ukrainian statehood as a ploy of the USSR, the Russian president repeated his mantra: Kiev is a “strategic threat” to its arms ambition. Nuclear tactics, therefore, the goal should be “disarmament”. He added that the “best solution” between paternalism and threat is that Ukraine “automatically abandons its ambition to join NATO.” As for the next moves in the Donbass, Putin was not unbalanced. “The entry of the Russian army will depend on the situation on the ground,” he explained, intending to remain ambiguous, but in the meantime the Senate agreed to send the so-called “peacekeeping” troops. But at the political level above all, the tsar dealt a new blow that could lead to a further military escalation: the recognition of the sovereignty of the separatists “over all regions” of Lugansk and Donetsk, and not only over part of the territories they controlled. This also means the areas where the Ukrainian forces are located, from which Kiev has assured that it will not withdraw. Despite the increasingly strong winds of war (the Russians also decided to evacuate diplomatic personnel from Ukraine), the Chancellery continues to look for glimpses of dialogue.
Ukraine and Putin: Kiev must abandon its ambitions to join NATO
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced to the Kiev parliament that he intends to call reservists to the army for an exceptional period in the face of the threat of a Russian invasion, excluding a general mobilization of the population. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the US would increase “sanctions if Russia continues to escalate its actions against Ukraine” and reiterated that the US and its allies are united in confronting Moscow’s aggression. Blinken also canceled a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov scheduled for Thursday that he indicated was conditional on the absence of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. “Now it doesn’t make sense,” he said. He added that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine represented “the biggest threat to Europe’s security since World War II.”
Canada has also imposed a series of economic “sanctions” against Russia. This was announced by Prime Minister Trudeau. The Canadian Prime Minister also announced the dispatch of more troops to Eastern Europe. Trudeau made it clear that up to 460 soldiers would be sent to Latvia and the region to bolster NATO’s eastern flank.
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