June 17, 2024

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Ukraine: Sanctions against Russia, a primary gas pipeline target

KYIV | Western nations pledged tough sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, after recognizing separatist areas in Ukraine and intending to deploy Moscow troops, while Berlin has already announced an expensive gas pipeline shutdown for the Kremlin.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on his allies to strike harshly, accusing it of considering severing diplomatic ties with Moscow and seeking to continue its “military occupation”.

In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin denied that he wanted to “rebuild an empire” and promised that the Kremlin was “open” to diplomacy, while international criticism had been pouring in since Monday, accusing Kiev of “wanting to resurrect the Soviet Union.”

Deaf to these allegations, Mr. The Russian parliament on Tuesday approved the agreements signed by Putin the day before as an individual.

During the night from Monday to Tuesday, Mr. Putin has ordered the deployment of his military in these separatist “republics,” which are already in danger of escalating the conflict, which has killed more than 14,000 people.

No timeline or size for this deployment has been announced, but Russia has more than 150,000 troops, which, according to Washington, could lead to an invasion of the Ukrainian border.

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“Big” penalties

From the United States to the European Union via NATO, the Western camp has widely condemned the Russian decision.

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Faced with the severance of his territory, Mr. Zhelensky demanded more than words to punish this “new Russian act of aggression”, especially with the “total shutdown” of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Germany.

Shortly afterwards, German Chancellor Olaf Scholes announced the “suspension” of the approval process for this expensive gas pipeline in Moscow, saying other measures could be taken.

He also promised that the EU would take “massive and strong” sanctions. They can target Russian banks and access European markets.

In Washington, D.C., Joe Biden issued an executive order Monday banning Americans from doing any business with separatist regions, the minimum package. The White House promised “new sanctions” on Tuesday.

Aside from the size of the Russian deployment, an important issue is the borders of the separatist “republics”: the borders claimed by the current front or the largest Kiev-defined administrative areas, Donetsk and Lukansk separatists.

Russian officials are not clear.

“Revival of the Soviet Union”

Already, Moscow’s recognition of separatist areas on the streets of Kiev raises fears of fleeing.

Artem Ivaschenko, 22, from Donetsk, told AFP “I’m really shocked because I have a lot of families” in eastern Ukraine. “I have been living in Kiev for eight years” and “this is the most terrifying news in eight years,” he adds.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiï Reznikov on Tuesday warned that “tough trials” await Ukraine, with “losses” and “pain”.

He further accused the Kremlin of trying to “resurrect the USSR” and remained a member of Ukraine until its fall in 1991.

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Faced with this great crisis, the UN The Security Council convened in a hurry from Monday to Tuesday and representatives from the West and Russia clashed there.

“The next few hours and days will be important. The danger of a major conflict is real, “said Rosemary DeCarlo, the UN secretary general’s secretary general.

The bombs fall

On Monday, Mr. Putin harshly criticized the West and called on Ukraine to stop its “military operations” or consider continuing “bloodshed”.

In the Ukrainian front line, where shootings have erupted in recent days, the situation was calm in the morning.

In Shastia, a small town in the east near the separatist areas, residents were clearing damage from a bomb blast the previous night in a residential area on Tuesday.

Valentyna Chmatkova, 59, was asleep when the shells fell and slammed into the windows of one of her one-bedroom apartments. “It simply came to our notice then. We do not think Ukraine and Russia will eventually reach an agreement, ”he laments.

“I thought there would be no conflict,” he continues. “I thought our president (Zhelensky) and the Russian president were smart and careful.”