World Leaders Impose Sanctions On Russia While China Accuses USA And Allies1 year ago
World leaders Thursday condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “barbaric” and quickly slapped heavy sanctions on the Russian economy, President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and many of the country’s oligarchs.
U.S. President Joe Biden declared:
Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences.Feedback
The United States, the 27-nation European Union and other Western allies announced sanctions against Russian banks and leading companies and imposed export controls aimed at starving the country’s industries and military of semiconductors and other high-tech products.
The invasion initially sent stocks slumping and oil prices surging on fears of higher costs for food and fuel.
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The West and its allies showed no inclination to send troops into Ukraine and risk a wider war on the continent. But NATO reinforced its member states in Eastern Europe as a precaution against an attack on them, too. Said NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg:
Make no mistake: We will defend every ally against any attack on every inch of NATO territory.
In the meantime, countries began taking steps to isolate Moscow in hopes of forcing it to pay so high a price that it changes course.
Biden, for now, held off imposing some of the most severe sanctions, including cutting Russia out of the SWIFT payment system, which allows for the transfers of money from bank to bank around the globe.
Ukraine’s president called for Russia to be cast out of SWIFT, but the U.S. has expressed concern about the potential damage to European economies.
EU leaders held an emergency summit and agreed on sanctions that cover, among other things, the financial, energy and transport sectors and various Russian individuals. In a statement, the leaders said the measures will have “massive and severe consequences” for Russia.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced financial restrictions and export controls. In addition, Britain will also prohibit Russia’s flagship airline, Aeroflot, from landing at British airports.
Canada imposed sanctions that will target 58 people and entities, including members of Russia’s elite and their families, the paramilitary Wagner Group, major Russian banks, and members of the Russian Security Council, including key cabinet ministers.
In the days before the attack, Germany suspended approval of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia.
The new U.S. sanctions also targeted the military and financial institutions of Belarus, Ukraine’s neighbor to the north. Russia is using Belarus as a staging ground for troop movements into Ukraine.
Separately, the U.N. Security Council is expected to vote Friday on a resolution condemning Russia and demanding the immediate withdrawal of all its forces. But Moscow is certain to veto it.
China accused the United States and its allies of worsening the crisis and “called on parties to respect others’ legitimate security concerns.”
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that “all parties should work for peace instead of escalating the tension or hyping up the possibility of war.”
China went further and approved imports of wheat from Russia, a move that could reduce the impact of Western sanctions. Russia, one of the biggest wheat producers, would be vulnerable if foreign markets were closed off.
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