Is Russia “more isolated than ever”? Two months after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, US President Joe Biden’s determination appears to be a matter of pious optimism as Moscow’s deportation has not yet hesitated against any section of the international community.
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Sylvie Madley, deputy director of the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (Iris), underscores that “Russia is clearly isolated from the Western camp because of the continuing sanctions that have complicated both trade and financial transactions.”
“As far as Russia’s isolation in the international arena is concerned, the situation is very different.
The Russian military offensive provoked on February 24 provoked almost immediate outrage among Europeans and Americans.
In the following weeks, NATO and EU airspace were closed to Russian aircraft and the United States imposed a ban on Russia’s oil and gas imports. At the same time, some Russian banks are exempt from the Swift international payment system.
But beyond the western block, the picture is different. On March 2, the UN General Assembly, especially India and South Africa, did not vote during the referendum on Russia’s withdrawal from Ukraine.
In Latin America, Brazil and Mexico refuse to participate in sanctions.
Chris Landsberg, a professor of international relations at the University of Johannesburg, notes that “despite the longing for closer cooperation with the West and the need for Western support, more and more countries are preparing to assert their independence.” Columns of the Washington Post.
“Condemning the invasion of Ukraine is different from waging an economic war against Russia. Many countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia are not ready to go,” said Chile’s former ambassador to India. South Africa, George Hein. “They do not want to be pushed into a position against their own interests.”
This is the situation in Saudi Arabia or the Emirates, which has so far avoided taking a stand against Russia. Or India.
As for New Delhi, Sivashankar Menon, an adviser to former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, explains that “the war was a brutal and undesirable choice between the West and Russia, which was avoided at any cost.” Singh.
“The United States is an essential and vital ally in the context of India’s modernization, but Russia is a key partner for geopolitical and military reasons,” he recalled in an article published in early April. : Are democracies really united against Russia? “.
On the ground, however, Western powers made no attempt to increase pressure on Moscow. At UNESCO, some forty countries have stepped up discussions in recent months to get the relocation of the Heritage Committee meeting scheduled for June in Russia.
Consequently, at this point, on the halftone: an indefinite adjournment notice, without a guarantee at this point, that Russia will not hold a meeting once the military offensive is over.
In the same attempt at the G20, the Indonesian president, in a hurry to oust Moscow, finally refused in the name of impartiality.
The lack of short-term effects of Western sanctions on the ongoing conflict will not convince even hesitant countries.
“Yes, sanctions are tough,” carnage Europe researcher Judy Dempsey underscores, “but they do not prevent Putin from prolonging the siege on Mariupol (…) and attacking other cities.”
“If Putin bends over and he leaves Ukraine, it’s clear it will not work,” says Sylvie Madley. “He has certainly reduced his aspirations, but not much in terms of sanctions on the stability of Ukrainian forces on the ground.”
To measure the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy on a medium and long-term basis will have to wait a few more months.
“The state of the Russian economy will be clear in June-July,” said Alexei Wadev, a Russian financial analyst at the Geiter Institute. “The economy is still operating on the basis of its reserves”.
“These reservations are declining, but as long as they are still, the restrictions are not fully realized,” he adds.