Europe could be on the brink of war. That phrase is no longer excessive or sounds presumptuous. The military escalation in Ukraine seems inevitable after Vladimir Putin first recognized the independence of Donbas and later not only limited that declaration to the part of the territory already controlled by pro-Russian rebels, but to the entire region. De facto, this is an invasion of the West and this is how both NATO and the United States described it.
The allied response, in any case, is now focused on sanctions, coordinated between Washington, the EU, the United Kingdom and Canada . NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made a very clear warning: “This is the most dangerous time for European security in a generation.”
The siege that is trying to be done on the Putin regime is generalized, and the discourse is very harsh against Moscow. Without going any further, Joe Biden warned on Tuesday that Russia “wants to take more territory by force and is going to go much further.” For the president of the United States, we are “at the beginning of an invasion of Ukraine.”
The face to face, after all, is between Russia and the United States. “We are going to block two Russian financial institutions, we are going to apply blockades so that they cannot trade their debt on international markets.and we are going to impose sanctions on different people,” said the tenant of the White House when announcing the sanctions approved by Washington, which may not stop there: “If Russia goes ahead, we will apply more sanctions.”
A Ukrainian military man at a post near the village of Avdiivka, near Donetsk.
“Putin has no right to do what he is doing, it is a violation of international law,” Biden commented in a brief but very emphatic appearance, in which he also called for multilateral action and highlighted “coordination” between Western partners to apply restrictive measures. “We are going to act together the moment he enters Ukraine and that is what he has done by recognizing the independence of these two regions,” she assumed. These steps taken in reaction to Moscow, Biden clarified, do not imply a warlike intention on the part of the West. “We have no intention of fighting against Russia: the movements are defensive and we are going to defend all corners of NATO “,
“Putin has no right to do what he is doing, it is a violation of international law”
Joe Biden, however, is pessimistic. “We believe that Russia can launch a (large-scale) military attack against Ukraine , I hope I am wrong,” he said to end his ‘communique’, while speaking of a “provocation” by Putin not only against Ukraine, but also against the system global. Moscow seeks to rewrite the international rules. ” If it continues down this path, only Russia will be responsible . We are going to respond and we are going to help our allies regarding energy prices. This is going to have a cost for all of us, but we are taking decisive action,” Biden concluded. .
And that energy slab falls especially on the European Union. The 27, in a quick reaction, have also approved in a matter of hours their first package of sanctions against Russia, which focus on 351 people directly involved in Putin’s decision on Donbas . The High Representative, Hosep Borrell, assured that the measures will “damage a lot” to Russia. They revolve around three axes: people related to the step taken by Moscow (among them deputies of the Duma) and banking entities , the blockade of Russia’s access to European capital markets and that of trade with and from Donetsk and Lugansk.
Of course, the EU is saving some of its ammunition: this package of sanctions is only the first and does not represent the most drastic part. Like the US, the EU will tailor its response to decisions made by the Kremlin. For now, “it is a clear response to the violations of international law by the Kremlin” , commented the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who also opened the energy debate to warn that the Member States have “a high dependency” on Russian gas and should bet on renewables. In this way, Russia’s blackmailing power would be considerably reduced.
Goodbye final? to Nord Stream 2
On the energy front, a very relevant decision has been made. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that he will not go ahead with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which would link Russia with Germany to ensure gas supplies without going through Ukraine.
The brave political decision of the traffic light government occurs because, in the words of Scholz, “the conditions are not met” for the project to go ahead. The European bubble received this decision with optimism, since it can also be understood as a step for the German country to break the taboo on strategic autonomy. France captains that ship and many voices understand the crisis with Russia as a window of opportunity to delve into a debate that has been frozen for years.
NATO does not change its message either. Jens Stoltenberg considers that the risk of conflict is increasing and recalled that there are Russian combat units outside their camps and in a position to carry out an aggression with little notice. “We urge Russia in the strongest terms to choose the path of diplomacy,” said the leader of the Alliance, who considers that it is not “too late” for Russia to “reverse its intentions.”
UK gives names
Among the Western partners, restrictive measures also came from the United Kingdom. The Johnson administration gave the green light to impose economic sanctions against five Russian banks and three individuals with “great wealth.” In addition, he gave names: he assures that the entities are the banks Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and Black Sea Bank and the people have been identified as Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg and Igor Rotenberg . The British Prime Minister, however, repeated the Western message to warn Putin that these sanctions are only “the first”.
Russia, in a scenario of almost unprecedented tension, does not seem uncomfortable. Without going any further, the Kremlin announced the beginning of “diplomatic relations” with the authorities of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk . “The Russian side aims at the comprehensive development of cooperation with Donetsk and Lugansk, including through the foreign ministries in the interest of the citizens of our countries, strengthening regional peace, stability and security,” they explained.
To this must be added that Russian troops are already present in the territory. And officially, not with a false flag. Putin, in the end, is only fulfilling a warning he made on Monday: “Ukraine is part of our history . ” For the Kremlin,