OPINION: A new array of proposed sanctions against Russia, targeting its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, its foreign debt and banking system and Kremlin-backed businessmen, are unlikely to deter Moscow from continuing its confrontational foreign policy.
This week’s video talks between US President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin failed to calm tensions over Ukraine and faltering gas supplies to Europe.
Since American and European sanctions were introduced in response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, Russia has used gas supplies and a military build-up near Ukraine to support its foreign policy agenda.
The US has reportedly offered European allies the option to halt Nord Stream 2 if Russia invades Ukraine, as part of a “harsh, high-impact” sanctions package.
But, with or without Nord Stream 2, Moscow has no interest in helping ease Europe’s gas crunch, in which high energy prices threaten economic recovery and which have created political instability.
Sanctions will do little to dispel Putin’s view that Kiev is a puppet of the US.
His regional ambitions could potentially be stymied by Europe boycotting Russian oil and gas and increasing Nato troop numbers in Eastern Europe.
However, the West lacks the political will to approve such responses while dealing with Covid-19, energy supply challenges and climate change concerns.
(This is an Upstream Opinion article.)