Ukraine: how the world is reacting to the Russian invasion

On the second day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the West reacted swiftly by adopting a first round of heavy sanctions against Moscow as the Ukrainian president urges his allies to act more decisively.
Overview of the first international reactions before a vote condemning (or not) the Russian aggression. A vote scheduled this Friday at the United Nations Security Council.

Sanctions “the most severe ever implemented”

Unanimous, the Heads of State and Government, meeting Thursday evening at a summit in Brussels, validated the project of a new salvo of sanctions against Russia. These measures concern the finance, transport and energy sectors, they also provide for export controls, the objective is to weaken Russian industry. The European Commission has been instructed to prepare for their effective implementation.

These are the “the toughest penalties ever implemented”, according to European leaders. 70% of the Russian banking market is in the crosshairs of the EU as well as key state-owned companies to severely affect the country’s economy. The Russian oligarchs, close to Vladimir Putin are mainly targeted.

“President Putin has chosen to bring war back to Europe,” justified Ursula von der Leyenthe President of the European Commission. This is a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine, and it fundamentally challenges our peace order.”

Sanction or not Russia: the debate in France?

While the international community is mobilizing to activate a new package of sanctions against Moscow, in France, the debate is raging in the middle of the electoral campaign.

Thursday evening, the French president however affirmed that it was important to maintain the dialogue with Moscow: _”While condemning, while sanctioning, underlined _Emmanuel Macronit is also “to leave this path open (dialogue with Putin, nldr) so that the day when the conditions can be met, we can obtain a cessation of hostilities for Ukrainians.

At this stage, the coordinated sanctions taken by the West will therefore not include the disconnection of Russia from the Swift global interbank network based in Belgium. Ukraine is calling for such a measure but several European countries are worried about the consequences for their own trading and financial system. If this sanction were to intervene, it would have a devastating effect on the Russian economy.

“The sanctions that have been proposed on all [les] banks [russes] have an equal consequence, and perhaps even more consequence, than sanctions on the SWIFT network. Besides, it’s always an option.”

Boris Johnson calls Vladimir Putin a dictator

While calling Vladimir Putin a dictator, Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, also announced a series of sanctions, such as the freezing of the assets of all Russian banks and the impossibility for Russia to raise funds in London. The controversy is growing in London as the United Kingdom has opened the door wide to the great Russian oligarchs in recent years.

The Japanese government of Fumio Kishida also joined in the condemnations of the West. Tokyo said it would sanction Russia’s financial sector, as well as exports of electronic components, such as semiconductors, essential for many everyday items.

China, Russia’s “lifeline”

In Australia, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrisonalso announced new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and 4 financial institutions… The head of government also took the opportunity to castigate Beijing’s reaction. Since the start of the crisis, China, an ally of Russia, has been content with measured reactions, calling for de-escalation while not explicitly condemning the Russian military incursion.

Australia blamed China on Friday for being “the lifeline” Russia, for failing to denounce its Russian invasion of Ukraine and for its “unacceptable” decision to ease restrictions on Russian wheat imports. The agreement, announced Thursday by Chinese customs, but known since the beginning of February, will allow imports from all Russian regions against only seven previously.

With Agencies

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