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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go 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.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More