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Ukraine: what are the objectives of the American sanctions against Russia?


The US Secretary of State meets with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday in Geneva. For good reason, more than 100,000 Russian soldiers are still posted on the Ukrainian border, and Washington continues to threaten Moscow with severe economic sanctions in the event of an invasion. But what penalties are we talking about?

It’s a burning issue. For several weeks, more than 100,000 Russian soldiers have been deployed near the Ukrainian border, with the specter of a potential invasion targeting Kiev. The tone continues to rise between the United States and Russia, and this a few hours before a new diplomatic meeting in Geneva between the two countries. The Americans are increasingly beating the pressure and providing for heavy sanctions in the event of military intervention.

Economic sanctions could be taken

On the American side, the specter of the Cold War is evoked. The United States has authorized the Baltic countries to deliver American weapons to Ukraine. A green light given to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to help Kiev, threatened by Russia.

However, sanctions have already been taken by the United States directly targeting companies or individuals to hit them on the wallet. Four Ukrainian nationals, including two elected officials, have been accused of destabilizing their country.

There are other potential more massive penalties. The United States and Europe are trying to agree on their magnitude. It could be that Russia is excluded from the Swift international money transfer system and such a choice would necessarily isolate Moscow and Russian commerce from the rest of the planet.

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The United States can also freeze its exports to Russia. For example, electronic products, processors, smart cards, essential in sectors such as armaments and aerospace. Washington has also been pushing for several weeks for Berlin to integrate the Nord Stream 2, this gas pipeline which connects Germany to Russia, to this arsenal of sanctions. This week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz ended up raising this possibility.

For the Western allies, the stakes are high: finding the right degree of sanctions so that the repercussions on Europe are not too strong since the economies of the “Old Continent” are still closely linked to those of Russia, many more than those of the United States.

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