Archives for : Sanctions

Here’s What the West Can Do to Stop Russia

Here’s What the West Can Do to Stop Russia

What can the West actually do?

Russia has shattered the presumption that we can take European security for granted. In the past two weeks, President Vladimir Putin has committed outright acts of war by invading Crimea and threatening to invade eastern Ukraine. It now appears that Russia will annex Crimea and perhaps go further unless confronted with a stronger resolve than visible so far from the United States and Europe.

Clearly, Russia has acted because its leaders believe that the Obama administration and Western allies are irresolute, weak and need Russia more than it needs them. While economic sanctions are essential, stronger measures, including military ones, are also necessary if we are to preserve European peace and security – and they need to take place in concert with more concrete steps by NATO.

A regular NATO fleet should be maintained in the Black Sea and recently announced military exercises extended and increased.
These drills include a U.S.-Bulgarian-Romanian naval exercise in the Black Sea and a joint U.S.-Polish air exercise involving F-16s. Likewise, we could resume construction of missile defenses in Poland and the Baltic states. On the naval side, assets deployed into the Black Sea should be given adequate air cover and air defenses. Beyond these immediate steps, additional Partnership for Peace exercises with Ukraine and Georgia should be scheduled, and military contacts between Ukraine and NATO increased.

Concurrently, as President Barack Obama and U.S. national security leaders have stated, the new Ukrainian government should reinforce its international image as sole legitimate authority by reaffirming the protection of minorities and reiterating its adherence to all existing treaties—including the 2010 Russo-Ukrainian agreement providing Russia with long-term naval basing at Sevastopol. It should also finish its application to the IMF and EU for immediate relief and launch urgently needed economic reforms to strengthen the country’s rickety economy, ending energy subsidies while providing relief for the poor, recovering assets stolen by former President Viktor Yanukovych and his cronies, ending corruption in government contracts, and establishing transparency in the energy distribution sector (and in government contracts generally).

Such actions would preserve peace, communicate NATO and the EU’s unified resolve, encourage a Russian withdrawal of troops and deter a descent into violence.
But they would be just the start. Beyond Ukraine, Washington and NATO must realize that Putin’s Russia will not be integrated into Europe, and readjust their policies accordingly [such as the Pentagon’s three year-old wish that Russia would turn its missile defenses away from Europe and toward Tehran in a joint NATO radar net against the Iranian missile threat]. Ukraine may now be in the eye of the Russian hurricane, but a failure to defend Ukraine’s integrity and sovereignty only invites further Russian assaults on sovereignty throughout Eurasia.

Military measures are obviously not the only answer. Though they are urgent, the real payoff will come from long-lasting measures to invigorate Ukraine’s domestic structures. The West needs to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to govern itself in a truly democratic manner, as well as to reform its economy. Apart from the immediate “bridge” funding necessary to stave off crisis, the EU should tell Ukraine that if it follows the long-term course of reforms required by every member it will, in time, surely qualify for membership. This would surely be an enormous boost to the Ukrainian government, and would galvanize domestic reform efforts while strengthening the economy against Russian efforts to subvert, corrupt, and undermine it.

Today, the West’s capabilities far outstrip those of Russia. But it must find the will and intelligence to deploy them successfully. Putin, by his recklessness and arrogance, has placed both European and Russian security at risk. This point must be hammered home in a way that deters violence and further Russian adventurism. At the core of Western policy should be a simple concept: Ukrainian integrity and sovereignty are not negotiable, because European security is now indivisible. The sooner we hammer that message home to Moscow, the quicker we will secure peace in Eastern Europe—and beyond.

Stephen Blank March 14, 2014

Stephen Blank is Senior Fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C

Stephen Blank is Senior Fellow for Russia at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, D.C

The West must do everything possible to maintain the world order providing security for Europe along with Ukraine against Russian imperialistic aggression.

Merkel, Hollande push for Ukraine sanctions

Merkel, Hollande push for Ukraine sanctions

Paris and Berlin have agreed on possible sanctions after at least 25 people died in violent clashes in Kyiv. The EU is preparing to push through emergency measures following the bloodshed on Tuesday.
Merkel und Hollande PK 19.02.2014 Paris

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande called for targeted sanctions against Ukraine’s leadership at a joint press conference in Paris on Wednesday.

The two said the measures were part of an approach to promote a compromise leading to constitutional reform and elections.

“What is happening in Ukraine is unspeakable, unacceptable, intolerable,” said Hollande.

Merkel also said sanctions against Ukraine’s leadership would show the EU was serious in pressing for a political solution. She told waiting reporters that they were talking to all sides in the crisis, including Russia.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron called on Kyiv to pull back security forces surrounding protesters in the capital.

In a statement released by Downing Street on Wednesday, Cameron said “I am deeply concerned by the scenes we are witnessing in Ukraine.”

“President [Viktor] Yanukovich should be under no doubt that the world is watching his actions and that those responsible for violence will be held accountable,” Cameron continued.

In a further development on Wednesday evening, the president replaced the chief of Ukraine’s armed forces.

The move was announced in a presidential decree and came as the acting defense minister said the army could take part in a nationwide anti-terrorist operation to restore order.

Foreign ministers head to Ukraine

Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier will be joined by his French and Polish counterparts in Kyiv on Thursday.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius confirmed they would go to Ukraine ahead of talks in Brussels.

“With my Polish and German colleagues we have decided to go to Kyiv tomorrow morning … to gather the latest information before the meeting in Brussels,” Fabius said alongside US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was on an official trip to Paris.

Kerry also said the US was working closely with the EU on the Ukraine crisis.

“We are talking about the possibility of sanctions or other steps with our friends in Europe and elsewhere in order to try to create the environment for compromise,” he said.

Emergency EU talks

Speaking from Brussels, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy confirmed that “our ministers in the Foreign Affairs Council will at their meeting tomorrow (Thursday) examine targeted measures, such as financial sanctions and visa restrictions against those responsible for violence and use of excessive force.”

EU diplomats are reported to be already in the process of drafting sanctions against those behind fresh violence and continued use of excessive force in Ukraine.

Last week, Europe’s foreign ministers promised they would “respond quickly to any deterioration on the ground,” but the implementation of sanctions needs the unanimous backing of all 28 member states.

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said, “It was with shock and utter dismay that we have been watching developments over the last 24 hours in Ukraine.”

“There are no circumstances that can legitimize or justify such scenes,” he added.

Barroso echoed the international community’s reaction to the deaths of at least 25 people, including nine police officers, in violent clashes on Independence Square – also known as Maidan – in Kyiv on Tuesday. Hundreds were reported to have been injured.

Meanwhile, the European Investment Bank (EIB) said it had frozen its activities in Ukraine due to the recent violence.

Three months of unrest

In November, initial peaceful protests were held in Kyiv after Yanukovych rejected an EU deal in favor of strengthening ties with Russia.

In mid-December, the president had struck a multi-billion dollar bailout agreement with Moscow to a backdrop of increasing unrest.

By then, a reported 300,000 people had joined the demonstrations in the capital – police brutality and use of excessive force became the main media focus in the biggest rallies since the Orange revolution in 2004.

lw/dr (dpa, Reuters, AP)

Europe its time to act. Will the duo of Merkel and Hollande stand-up to Putin. Europe show your resolve for freedom and democracy -SANCTIONS NOW!