Sanctions fail to curb violence in Moscow

Sanctions fail to curb violence in Moscow

Biden administration officials warned this week that the conflict in Ukraine is likely to drag on as Russia changes its strategy, underscoring the degree to which international sanctions have failed to stop the Russian invasion or force Moscow to reverse course.

President Biden questioned during a trip to Brussels late last month that the sanctions were meant to deter Russia from invading Ukraine. Still, the US and its allies have continued to impose them in the hope that they will make Russia an international pariah and increase pressure on the Kremlin and the Russian economy over time.

“I think we need to have patience and perspective when it comes to the impacts on Russia of this unprecedented and crippling sanctions regime that we have put in place,” National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told reporters at a Christian Science event. Monitor.

“And we need patience and perspective. The president has been saying this from day one that the reason we’ve spent so much time building a coalition and maintaining and sustaining a coalition around these sanctions steps … is that the impact of sanctions operates throughout over time”. Deese added.

The Biden administration has been steadily implementing sanctions alongside allies for the past six weeks, ever since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Since then, the US has targeted major Russian banks, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his sons, Russian oil imports, dozens of Russian oligarchs, and Moscow’s ability to borrow money in an effort to cripple the economy and squeeze those closest to Putin who might urge him to end the invasion.

The president and his team have repeatedly pointed to the coordinated nature of the sanctions, arguing that the world is united in making Russia a pariah.

“I would say that sanctions serve a variety of purposes, including establishing consequences. And where we are, as far as the war in Ukraine is concerned, it also makes it that much more difficult for President Putin to finance this war, and that’s a huge priority for us,” the White House press secretary said Thursday. , Jen Psaki.

Despite the series of sanctions, Russia has continued its attacks on Ukraine, hitting major cities and civilian areas such as hospitals and theaters and committing what US officials have deemed war crimes.

India has continued to buy Russian oil and Hungary has said it would be willing to pay for Russian gas in rubles, the Russian currency.

And while the value of the ruble plunged early in the sanctions push, it has recovered to pre-invasion levels, which US officials attribute to artificial measures taken by the Kremlin to prop up the currency.

Pundits and many lawmakers have praised the coordination the United States has been able to maintain with its allies in imposing sanctions. But some have suggested there are other ways the Biden administration can continue to pressure Russia or provide support to Ukraine besides letting sanctions run their course.

Brett Bruen, who served as director of global engagement in the Obama administration, called for investing in a “meaningful public diplomacy operation” to ensure the Russian people have access to accurate information about what is happening in Ukraine, in addition to the Kremlin propaganda downplaying Russian atrocities and military fighting.

Experts have also urged the Biden administration to continue funneling security assistance to Ukraine, pointing to it as one of the most critical ways the US can help Ukrainians defend against what is expected to be a protracted fight with Russia.

Psaki on Friday highlighted some of the aid the United States has provided so far, including more than 1,400 anti-aircraft systems, 5,000 javelin anti-armor systems, hundreds of drones, thousands of smaller weapons, 50,000 rounds of ammunition, guided rocket systems To be. and other equipment.

“The security assistance that the Biden administration is providing to Ukraine is enabling critical battlefield success against the invading Russian force. The number one reason they can stand up for themselves is their bravery and courage,” Psaki said. “The number 2 reason is the security assistance that we provide and provide in coordination with our allies and partners.”

David Kramer, who spent three years as deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs during the George W. Bush administration, said that while the Ukrainian people will continue to face tragic losses in the coming weeks and months, a protracted conflict could eventually wear down to the Russian forces who are reportedly suffering from low morale due to the fighting of their military.

Kramer noted that Ukraine is receiving military equipment from allies, while Russia is forced to turn to outside mercenaries willing to bolster Moscow’s forces. And sanctions over time should continue to reduce the Russian economy and its ability to finance its invasion.

“I think the Ukrainians have had several victories, so to speak, but of course there have been many Ukrainians who have paid a terrible price,” Kramer said. “And it’s all because a man decided to invade his neighbor. And I’m not sure how sustainable a Russian military operation would be over an extended period of time.”

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