The main purpose of sanctions against Russia and new proposals to strengthen them is to force the aggressor to end this terrible war against Ukraine. This was stated by Head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak during the presentation of the Action Plan to strengthen sanctions against the Russian Federation (see the text here), which was developed by the Yermak-McFaul international expert group.
“As the war continues, Russia continues to kill Ukrainians and destroy our cities, and it is clear that these sanctions are not enough. We need to stop all the mechanisms that feed this military machine,” he said.
The Head of the President’s Office reminded that a few weeks ago President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy had taken the initiative to assess the effectiveness of sanctions against Russia and find ways to further strengthen them. Andriy Yermak proposed to create an expert group of the strongest international and Ukrainian specialists, who have worked on this task for three weeks.
He said that the proposed document contains ten steps to increase sanctions pressure on Russia in the order of priority. First of all, it is a complete embargo on Russian gas and oil, the inflow of money paid for oil and gas into escrow accounts, i.e. these funds will not go to Russia and will not be used to finance this war.
In the financial sphere, we are talking about total, i.e. with the freezing of assets, sanctions against all banking institutions in Russia and Belarus. At the same time, the entire democratic world must tighten trade restrictions on Russian goods.
“Another important sanctions factor is the recognition of Russia and Belarus as states – sponsors of terrorism, and the Russian army and political parties as terrorist organizations. It is also proposed to include Russia in the FATF blacklist,” said Andriy Yermak.
According to him, it is planned to expand personal sanctions against Russian officials and their families, leading members of political parties, and the management of state corporations. Sanctions against Kremlin propagandists need to be stepped up.
In particular, the Head of the President’s Office stressed the importance of increasing the transparency of financial and trade operations aimed at impeding trade and investment in Russia, while deepening appropriate coordination between allies and partners.
Another important point is the introduction of secondary sanctions against individuals and legal entities that will provide services to Russia and Belarus to circumvent restrictive measures. Andriy Yermak noted that it is necessary to review the operations allowed now, otherwise the desired effect will not be achieved.
Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), Former US National Security Adviser Michael McFaul said that many steps regarding sanctions remain unfulfilled.
“We have identified very realistic and effective steps that can be taken by governments. For example, ideas such as the introduction of new tariffs for Russian products or measures regarding escrow accounts,” he said.
Michael McFaul is convinced that Russia should be recognized as a state – sponsor of terrorism, because its current actions in Ukraine are much more in line with the definition of terrorism than the actions of countries that already have such a status.
Also, according to him, there are hundreds of individuals and legal entities against which sanctions should be applied.
The former adviser to the President of the United States said that the experts intend to continue to work actively on the issue of secondary sanctions.
Andriy Yermak thanked all the experts who took part in the preparation of the Action Plan to strengthen sanctions against Russia.
“This document will be the foundation for further work of the Government of Ukraine to increase sanctions pressure on the Russian Federation. And we invite our partners to take this list as a basis for further steps in this direction. Leaders of many countries are waiting for this document,” he said.