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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

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.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid