EU sanctions on Russia, embargo on banks, actions on people - Corriere.it
to Federico Fobini

Natural gas will not be among the import bans. But the specific package of sanctions appears to be at risk of the “divide and rule” that Putin will try to wield.

When Germany gave an ultimatum to Poland in May 1939, the French socialist Marcel Diat posed a question that has gone down in history: “Why would you die for Danzig?”. Of course, none of this happening these days justifies a similar comparison with Kiev, also because the question today should be: Defense of Ukraine In the event of a Russian invasion, is it worth the risk of an economic downturn?. The European Council on Foreign Relations London asked a sample of Europeans in the last ten days of January and the answer is: No, it is not worth the risk of harming the economy in the name of Kiev according to a relative majority of 44% of Italians, 41% of French and 38% of Germans; In the three countries, those who consider this to be true are in the minority They risk part of their well-being for Kiev. But in Germany, France, and above all in Italy, most people depend on the European Union “to defend my country in the event of a Russian attack on Ukraine”.

Certainly the Russian president is not on the first list of more than ten people who will be affected by individual actions. There are political, media or commercial figures who created, with their actions or words, the conditions for what could happen in the coming days. But these penalties are toothless due to their own legal limitations: In addition to banning visas, they can only issue a decree to formally freeze accounts and assets located in Europe in the name of certain pro-regime figures in Moscow; But many prominent members of the Putin establishment can escape from the network’s intertwined networks, because they have been using reliable candidates for years for all operations in the West.

The measures on the banks, which the EU has been negotiating with the US Treasury for weeks, are more subtle. Brussels and Washington agree on a large list of Russian public and private institutions – possibly Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, Alfa-Bank and the Russian Direct Investment Fund – with which a ban on transactions will be announced. The goal is to launch the same blockade at the same time by the United States, the European Union, Great Britain, Canada and Switzerland. (But the latter offers no guarantees yet.) Then there are the commercial measures to prevent imports and ban the supply of a certain number of products that do not include natural gas.

In Brussels, no one expects any government to veto sanctions, because even Hungary’s Viktor Orban would not dare to stand up to an invasion of Ukraine. However, it remains to be seen what will happen if the Russian intervention is mixed – Without firing a shot – – He limited himself to sending a “peacekeeping force” styled “peacekeeping force” to Donbass. Putin could still choose this option, precisely to sow doubts about sanctions among Europeans and separate them from the Americans.

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Moreover, signs of insecurity appear here and there. On January 17, the first British flights carrying artillery to Kiev avoided German airspace, although Berlin denies closing it to Ukrainian rearmament missions. In Italy we believe above all the repercussions of the recovery. And on February 8, in Kiev, Emmanuel Macron will anger Volodymyr Zelensky
– According to sources in Kiev – because the French leader would have asked Ukraine to renounce NATO membership on its own (without the Europeans bearing the responsibility of pleasing Moscow by closing the door to the alliance). Certainly the German chancellor at the last Brussels summit Olaf Schulz He repeated the word “unity” over and over again: but it is precisely the test that Putin will put in Europe.

Feb 20 2022 (change on Feb 20 2022 | 11:27)

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