The first sanctions against Russia, a gesture of unity with limited effects

In response to the political and military operation of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, which recognized the sovereignty of Ukrainian separatists over all the territories of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, several NATO member states announced diplomatic and financial sanctions.

These sanctions are also, and perhaps the main objective, to demonstrate the resolution, determination and unity of the Allies in confronting Russia.Explains Frederic Miran, professor of political science at the University of Montreal.

The goal is to show that Russia will be a pariah state if it acts aggressively. »

Quote from Frederic Miran, Scientific Director of the Center for International Studies and Research

According to Jan Briault, Professor of International Studies at the Royal Military College in Saint-Jean, It is not just a matter of giving lessons in international law [Vladimir] put it inbut to find the true balance of forces between forces.

US President Joe Biden has made clear that there will be no US troops on Ukrainian soil. The only tool that [Biden] It has, it’s economic sanctionsexplains Mr. Briault, explaining that the latter is not particularly deterrent at this point.

First series of penalties

Among these actions, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has suspended the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a 1,230-kilometer gas infrastructure linking Germany and Russia via the Baltic Sea.

This measure is modest, especially since the Nord Stream 2 pipeline has not yet entered service, unlike the neighboring Nord Stream 1 pipeline, as Mr. Miran asserts. However, if the measure remains in place for a longer period, it will lead to medium and long-term economic consequences, says the professor.

On his part, the President of the United States said, Joe Biden targeted the Russian elitesFinancial institutions and Russia’s debt financing by limiting Western financing. On Wednesday, the United States increased sanctions Against the company responsible for the operation of the gas pipeline Nord Stream 2Its parent company is Russia’s giant Gazprom.

In turn, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, ban all financial transactions with Russian banks State-backed, in addition to announcing sanctions targeting Russian parliamentarians who voted in favor of the resolution illegal To recognize the sovereignty of the Luhansk and Donetsk territories.

The first victims of the sanctions so far are basically the nomenklatura, the deputies around Putin, the elite, the oligarchs with origins in London, Switzerland, and these will be the first targets of these sanctions.says Mr. Miran.

NATO hesitation is buying time for Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin has learned that consequences await him in response to his military demonstration on the border of Ukraine, assures Mr. Miran. Therefore, the Russian president, in his speech on Monday, exposed himself to sanctions, but in a conscious and measured manner.

Vladimir Putin knew very well that these sanctions would be adopted, and he acted knowingly. »

Quote from Frédéric Miran, Professor at the University of Montreal

Analysts believe that this is the calculation made by President Putin, who is prepared that there will be costs associated with the sanctions. By way of comparison, the sanctions imposed on Russia after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 had a 1.5% effect on the country’s gross domestic product, according to an estimate by Mr. Briault, who stresses that the sanctions announced so far are just a bait for those ahead. a few weeks.

Mr. Miran confirms this Sanctions, to be credible, must hurt you too. It concludes that economically harmful sanctions on both sides are likely to have more political weight.

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