News / Europe

    EU Sanctions Against Russia – Who Will Feel the Pain?

    FILE - Traders work on the floor of the Moscow Exchange, June 3, 2014.
    FILE - Traders work on the floor of the Moscow Exchange, June 3, 2014.
    Lisa Bryant

    European Union governments have agreed to impose new sanctions against Russia that will target, among other areas, its defense sector, with Washington poised to follow. Experts agree the measures were long in coming but there seems to be little agreement over how painful they will be for Russia – and for Europe itself.

    Agreed to by European Union ambassadors meeting in Brussels, the new sanctions are expected to go into effect rapidly.  While the details are still sketchy, the measures aim to hit sensitive areas of Russia's economy, including its oil, technology, banking and defense sectors. The ambassadors also extended their list of people subject to EU travel bans and asset freezes.

    The 28-member bloc only recently slapped sanctions on Russia over its alleged support of the separatist rebellion in Ukraine, and expanded them only reluctantly. Analysts say it was strong pressure from Washington, coupled with the downing of the Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine that killed 298 people, most of them European citizens, that has changed the EU's thinking and prompted it to act.

    European Council on Foreign Relations Paris office director Edouard Tetreau says the slow move to action was "classic" European diplomacy.

    "European diplomacy always does the right thing, but at the very last minute after all other options have expired.  We have seen it with the euro crisis a few years ago.  We are watching it live now, with the Russia crisis," says he.

    Now, Tetreau says, Europe and the United States must work to ensure their sanctions against Moscow make a difference.

    "It will hit hard the Russian economy at a difficult moment for that economy.  And that, in the short term, will create difficulties.  But in the medium [to] long term, it can show to Mr. Putin's Russia a path for a more pacific (peaceful) and more reasonable partnership with Europe," says Tetreau.

    EU member states may also stand to lose.  Russia is the block's third biggest trading partner.  London's financial sector, Germany's energy imports and France's defense industry all count on doing business with Russia.

    But Ian Bond, Director of Foreign Policy at the London-based Center for European Reform, predicts the new measures will not be tough enough.

    "The direct pain is going to be pretty limited.  It looks as though these are technically tier-three sanctions.  They are very much at the bottom end of what could be done under tier three," says Bond.

    Unlike Western sanctions against Iran, Bond does not think these measures will bring Moscow to the negotiating table, and may harden its stance on Ukraine.  An arms embargo, for example, is expected to target future deals with Russia, not past contracts like France's agreement to sell a pair of Mistral warships to Moscow.

    But analyst Tetreau says in the case of the Mistrals, Brussels is considering another solution - buying the warships itself.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: shane from: Aust
    July 30, 2014 7:10 AM
    And the sanctions have worked against IRAN not..They are in a better position than ever. Both economy and defence has improved.

    by: jnffarrell1 from: FL 32258
    July 29, 2014 3:20 PM
    Mistrals (named for a hot wind) are about as impressive as a Carnival Cruise Liner. Let the Russian's waste their $reserves buying showboats.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.