In direct response to the recent and tragic events surrounding the attack on the MH17 Malaysian Airlines flight over Eastern Ukraine the US and European governments have agreed upon and put in place additional sanctions on Russia.
All involved are determined to continue to put pressure on Putin and the Russian economy which looks set to feel the blow substantially while Russia’s illegal activities and lack of peace-keeping action concerning current events in Ukraine continue.
US Secretary John Kerry has also added his voice to those opposed to Russia’s current activities, stating that Russia has to date offered no evidence to show a willingness to intervene in the bloodshed between Kiev and Moscow-supported rebels and they continue to ship arms across the border.
Barack Obama has made it clear he does not see current actions as encouraging a new Cold War however the US are as determined as their European peers to hit hard at the companies and “cronies” supporting the violence. By suspending credit and discouraging US exports into Russia, cutting funding for on-going and upcoming economic development schemes in Russia and imposing heavy sanctions on main Russian banks the US are making their feelings on recent events very clear.
The latest sanctions authorised by the EU are aimed primarily at the country’s oil, defence and technologically focused businesses as well as new financial sanctions. Future export and import bans including hard-hitting restrictions against a number of oil-related products and projects will certainly make clear the EU’s displeasure over recent events.
Despite these new sanctions being put in place on top of existing US and EU actions against Russia Putin appears unmoved yet the pressure currently being exerted will no doubt result in significant and long-lasting financial cost to the country.
The deaths of the two hundred and ninety eight crew and passengers aboard the tragically lost MH17 plane rocked the world yet violence continues daily with an additional twenty three people, including innocent children being recorded as killed between rebels and Ukrainians fighting on Tuesday this week. Putin and his cabinet will need to show a significant U-turn on this matter, addressing current concerns and working pro-actively to end this bloodshed should he wish to see some of the sanctions lifted.
In light of the current ban and restrictions on Russian trade, perhaps most significantly on Russian oil-related trade Putin’s long awaited and recently agreed upon energy deal with China will no-doubt be what Putin is clinging onto. The contract details are unclear however the announcement that China have agreed on an initial thirty-year supply deal was a strong victory for Putin. With the financial benefit of this deal not reaching Putin’s coffers for several years however the world is watching and waiting to see what effect the latest sanctions will have and whether the Russian stance alters enough to satisfy conditions set out as part of the latest sanctions in order to see them lifted.