Western sanctions are limiting Moscow’s access to financial markets and high-tech goods in case it attacks Ukraine, a top EU official said on Saturday. EU sanctions may be in place before Russia attacks the country, the official said.
In the midst of rising tensions over Russia’s intentions toward Ukraine, Ursula von der Leyen, the EU’s executive commission head, made these remarks.
von der Leyen made the comments during the Munich Security Conference, where U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke. “The Kremlin’s dangerous thinking, which comes from its dark past, may cost Russia a prosperous future,” von der Leyen said.
In a statement, Von der Leyen said the EU’s executive arm has partnered with the U.S., U.K. and Canada to develop a “robust and comprehensive package” of financial sanctions.
In a statement Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden said that he was “convinced” President Vladimir Putin had decided to invade neighboring Ukraine.
If Russia strikes, the access to financial markets for the Russian economy would be restricted and export controls would be imposed, thus preventing the country from diversifying and modernizing its economy, she said.
There are a lot of high-tech products in which we hold a global lead, which are absolutely necessary for Russia and can’t be replaced.”
Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany, said that during his meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, he “made it clear that any further violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity would have high costs for Russia” on a political, economic, and geostrategic level.
Furthermore, Scholz added, “diplomacy will not fail because of us.”. Our strategy is to exercise as much diplomacy as possible without being nave, and we are utilizing all communication channels for that purpose.”
There has been no specific indication by Western leaders of what specific Russian actions would cause sanctions. During Biden’s meeting with French counterparts on Friday, a French official who would not be named publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity said they ware talking an invasion of territory under government control in Kiev.
According to the official, the massive sanctions would only be triggered if this territory was invaded.
Ukraine’s eastern regions are controlled by pro-Russian separatists who have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014, the year Russian forces occupied the Crimean Peninsula.