The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, wrote a text about how the sanctions have already affected Russia – and what to expect next.

Are sanctions against Russia beneficial? Yes, they are already hitting hard on Vladimir Putin and his associates, and over time their influence on the Russian economy will grow.

After Russia deliberately violated international law by launching an invasion of Ukraine, the EU  adopted six packages of sanctions against Moscow. These measures now affect almost 1,200 individuals and 98 legal entities in Russia, as well as a significant number of sectors of the Russian economy. The adoption of these sanctions was coordinated with the G7 countries . Their effectiveness is enhanced by the fact that more than 40 other states (including traditionally neutral countries) have adopted the same or similar measures.

By the end of 2022, we will  reduce Russian oil imports by 90%. We are also rapidly reducing gas imports.

These decisions are gradually freeing us from the addiction that has long prevented us from making political decisions in response to the aggressive behavior of Vladimir Putin. He probably thought that Europe would not dare to impose sanctions because of its energy dependence. This is not the least of the numerous miscalculations of the Russian regime during this conflict.

Of course, such a rapid rejection of Russian energy sources creates serious difficulties for many EU countries and a number of sectors of the economy. But this is the price we must pay to protect our democracies and international law, and we are taking the necessary steps to address these issues in full solidarity.

One might ask, do these sanctions really affect the Russian economy? The simple answer is yes. Although Russia exports a large amount of raw materials, it has no choice but to import a lot of high value-added goods that it does not produce. In terms of all advanced technologies, Russia is 45% dependent on Europe and 21% on the United States, while only 11% on China. 

In the military realm, crucial in the context of the war in Ukraine, sanctions are limiting Russia’s ability to produce precision-guided missiles such as the Iskander and Kh-101. Almost all foreign car manufacturers have also decided to leave Russia, and the few cars produced by Russian manufacturers will be sold without airbags and automatic transmission. 

The oil industry is suffering not only because of the exit of foreign companies, but also because of the difficulty in accessing advanced technologies such as horizontal drilling. The ability of the Russian industry to commission new wells is likely to be limited.

Finally, in order to maintain air traffic, Russia will have to decommission most of its aircraft in order to find spare parts that are needed to keep the rest of the aircraft flying. To this must be added the loss of access to financial markets, isolation from large global research networks and massive brain drain.

As for the alternative that China offers to the Russian economy, in fact, the possibilities are limited here, especially when it comes to high-tech goods. To date, the Chinese government, which is very dependent on exports to developed countries, does not help Russia bypass Western sanctions. Exports from China to Russia fell in the same way as exports from Western countries. 

Will these significant consequences, which continue to worsen, lead Vladimir Putin to change his strategic calculations? Probably not in the near future: economic logic is not the first thing that guides his actions. However, by forcing him to choose either oil or guns, the sanctions clamp him into a vise that gradually squeezes more and more.

As for the impact of these sanctions on third countries, especially African countries that depend on Russian and Ukrainian wheat and fertilizers, it is clear who is responsible for the food crisis. Our sanctions do not in any way affect the export of Russian wheat and fertilizers, and Ukraine is deprived of the ability to export its wheat due to the blockade of the Black Sea and the destruction caused by Russian aggression. If such issues related to our sanctions arise, we are ready to create appropriate mechanisms to resolve them. I informed my African colleagues about this and asked them not to believe the lies of the Russian authorities regarding our sanctions.

The real way to cope with the difficulties in the global energy and food markets is to end the war. This will be impossible to achieve if you agree to the dictates of Russia. This can only be achieved if Russia withdraws from Ukraine. Respect for the territorial integrity of states and the non-use of force are not Western or European principles. It is the basis of all international law. Russia unceremoniously tramples them. If we put up with such a violation, then this can lead to the fact that the law of the jungle will begin to operate on a global scale. 

Contrary to the naive thoughts that we had a few years ago, economic interdependence does not mean automatic peace in international relations. That is why the transformation of Europe into a real power, which I have called for since the beginning of my term, becomes an imperative.

With the invasion of Ukraine, we began to move from concept to action, showing that when we are provoked, Europe can respond. Since we don’t want to go to war with Russia, this response is based on economic sanctions. They have already begun to have an impact, and the impact will only increase in the coming months.

(C)MEDUZA 2022

6 comments

  1. It’s an interesting article. I wish politicians ( not in this article but perhaps Biden and his rhetoric) would stop putting forward the bull shit that high oil prices are due to Putin. It’s not and it’s only causing people to believe this war is hurting them too much. They don’t see the genocide and are only thinking this affects their pockets which it’s not.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. “In the military realm, crucial in the context of the war in Ukraine, sanctions are limiting Russia’s ability to produce precision-guided missiles such as the Iskander and Kh-101. Almost all foreign car manufacturers have also decided to leave Russia, and the few cars produced by Russian manufacturers will be sold without airbags and automatic transmission.”

    So, the new Soviet Union is producing only dumb weapons – if at all – and Ladas with 80s technology. Great job, Vlad. You single-handedly not only turned your military into the laughingstock of the world, but demolished the ruskie economy to boot, all within only a few months.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The sanctions need to be tightened. All Russian banks must be cut off from SWIFT. Nothing should go into, or out of, Russia.

    Like

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