The background to the sanctions is that Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to recognize the two regions of Lugansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine as independent states and sent troops there.
On Tuesday, Russia’s National Assembly, at Putin’s request, also gave the Russian military the green light to use military force outside Russia’s borders.
Recent satellite images from US firm Maxar Technologies also show what appears to be a further deployment of more than 100 military vehicles in southern Belarus, towards the border with Ukraine. Also, what appear to be many tents can be seen.
The sanctions that have been announced are aimed at affecting Russian oligarchs and other elites and banks, and they will prevent access to Western funding.
After coordinated action by the EU, UK and US on Tuesday, and harsh condemnation from European heads of state and leaders, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau followed suit on Tuesday evening local time.
Trudeau called Russia’s actions in Ukraine an invasion and said Canada and its allies would take steps to isolate Russia economically. He also announced that the Canadians would send up to 460 soldiers to reinforce the NATO presence in the East.
Western countries have made it clear that the sanctions are only a first round and will be tightened if Russia continues to escalate the situation.
– The invasion has begun
Later, Japan and Australia followed.
In Japan, Russian bond borrowing is banned, while some Russians have their securities frozen in Japan. The measures can be stepped up if the situation in Ukraine worsens further, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has warned.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Russians were behaving like bad guys and thugs when he outlined his country’s sanctions against Moscow. According to him, targeted entry restrictions and economic sanctions against members of the Russian National Security Council will be introduced, as well as broader sanctions against Ukraine’s breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
– The invasion of Ukraine has in practice already begun. This invasion is unwarranted, unauthorized, unprovoked and unacceptable, Morrison said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that he was not particularly concerned about the announced sanctions.
– Our European, American and British colleagues will not calm down until they have used all their opportunities to punish Russia. They are already threatening us with all sorts of different sanctions, Lavrov said, according to Reuters.
Sanctions will ultimately hit those who introduce them, it is said on the Russian side.
They will “damage global financial and energy markets,” the Russian ambassador to the United States wrote on Facebook, adding that ordinary Americans “will feel the consequences of rising prices.”
“Web specialist. Social media ninja. Amateur food aficionado. Alcohol advocate. General creator. Beer guru.”