Sanctions on Russia adversely affect global economy

Russian tanks in the Ukraine on the Special Military Operation

RUSSIA’S President, Vladimir Putin, has opined that the latest raft of unprecedented sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and its allies over the Kremlin’s military campaign in Ukraine, mark the end of an era. According to Putin, from now on the West will be losing its ‘global dominance’ both politically and economically.

Speaking on Wednesday, the Russian head of state proclaimed that the ‘myth of the Western welfare state, of the so-called golden billion is crumbling.’
Moreover, it is the ‘whole planet that is having to pay the price for the West’s ambitions, and its attempts to retain its vanishing dominance at any cost,’ Putin claimed.
The Russian president has predicted food shortages across the world as Western sanctions against Russia had adversely affected the entire global economy.
Touching on the decision by several Western powers to freeze Russia’s central bank assets, Putin claimed that this would only serve to irreparably undermine trust in those nations, and make other countries think twice before placing their reserves in the care of those countries.
According to the Russian president, nearly half of Moscow’s assets were ‘simply stolen’ by the West.
Addressing people in the West, the Russian leader said that the massive sanctions imposed on Russia were already backfiring on the US and Europe themselves, with governments there trying hard to convince their citizens that Russia was to blame.
Putin warned ordinary people in the West that attempts to portray Moscow as the primary source of all their woes were lies, with a lot of those issues being the direct result of the Western governments’ ‘ambitions’ and ‘political short-sightedness’.
The Western elites, according to Putin, have turned their countries into the ‘empire of lies,’ yet Russia will keep on presenting the whole world with its own position, no matter what.

  • Vladimir Medinsky, Russia’s top negotiator at the peace talks with Ukraine, has said that Kiev is floating the idea of becoming a neutral nation.

‘Ukraine is proposing an Austrian or a Swedish model of a neutral demilitarised state, but with its own army and navy,’ Medinsky told reporters on Wednesday, adding that ‘the size of Ukrainian Army’ was among the issues discussed.
Moscow wants Ukraine to officially become a neutral country that will never join NATO.
Russia launched its Special Military Operation in Ukraine on February 24, saying that it was seeking the ‘demilitarisation’ of the country, among other demands.
Medinsky reiterated that Moscow wants Kiev to recognise Crimea as part of Russia, and the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), which broke away from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev.
Other key issues of concern for Russia are the ‘de-Nazification’ of Ukraine and the rights of Russian speakers living in the country, the negotiator said.
‘There was some progress on several issues, but not all of them,’ Medinsky said about the talks with Kiev.
Commenting on this model of Ukrainian neutrality, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said ‘it can be viewed as a certain compromise’.
Austria declared itself a neutral country in 1955. Its laws ban the nation from joining military alliances and hosting foreign military bases on Austrian soil.
Sweden is often described as a ‘non-aligned’ country, given its longstanding tradition of not formally joining any military bloc. It is not a NATO member and has no foreign bases on its territory.
However, in response to the Russian attack on Ukraine, NATO invited non-members Sweden and Finland to attend the US-led bloc’s meetings and decided to share intelligence with them.
The Ukrainian leadership previously said it was ready to discuss potential neutrality with Russia.
At the same time, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine must receive ‘security guarantees’ from Russia and the West.
Moscow invaded Ukraine in late February, following a seven-year stand-off over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.
The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularise the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc.
Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

  • US President Joe Biden is reportedly set to announce an additional $800 million in aid for Ukraine, bringing the total amount of US aid to over $1 billion amid Ukraine’s conflict with Russia.

An unnamed senior White House official told reporters on Tuesday that an additional $800 million in aid would soon be announced which would bring ‘the total announced in the last week alone to $1 billion’.
The official did not state what equipment would be included in the coming aid; however, a $200 million package announced on Saturday included equipment to help Ukrainian forces against ‘armoured, airborne, and other threats it is facing,’ the US State Department revealed.
On Tuesday, President Biden signed into law a sweeping $1.5 trillion government funding bill that includes $13.6 billion in ‘humanitarian and security assistance’ for Ukraine.
‘With this new security funding and the drawdown authorities in this bill, we’re moving urgently to further augment the support to the brave people of Ukraine as they defend their country,’ Biden said, promising to share more details about the aid on Wednesday.
Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, claiming that Russia must demilitarise and ‘de-Nazify’ the government in Kiev after it refused to peacefully resolve the Donbass conflict and sought nuclear weapons and NATO membership. Ukraine has blasted the move as an ‘unprovoked’ attack and insisted it had no intention of reclaiming the Donbass region by force.
In the meantime, weapons and other forms of military aid – as well as a steady stream of volunteer foreign fighters – have flooded into Ukraine from NATO states as fighting in the country reaches its third week.

  • In a veiled warning, the US government has asked India to consider its place in ‘history books’ as the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi mulls Russia’s offer for discounted crude oil.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, said India’s plan to purchase cheaper crude from Moscow would amount to supporting the Russian ‘leadership’.
It comes as tensions between the US-led NATO military alliance and Russia continue to escalate amid the latter’s military operation in neighbouring Ukraine, which has now entered its fourth week.
India, which imports almost 80 per cent of its oil from abroad, buys just 2 to 3 per cent from Russia.
However, with oil prices soaring dramatically amid the disruption in the global energy market, New Delhi is reportedly considering an attractive offer from Moscow.
‘Russia is offering oil and other commodities at a heavy discount. We will be happy to take that,’ an Indian government official was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
The official said such oil trade needed preparatory work including transportation, insurance cover, and getting the right mix of crude, without specifying the amount of oil and discount on offer.
Reacting to the reports, Psaki said nations should consider their role in history when dealing with Moscow amid the Ukraine crisis, but added that the move would not involve economic penalties.
‘Our message to any country continues to be, obviously, abide by the sanctions,’ she said.
‘I don’t think this would be violating the sanctions, but think about where you want to stand when the history books are written in this moment in time. And support for the Russian leadership is support for an invasion that obviously is having a devastating impact.’
According to reports, India and Russia are presently working out a bilateral trade mechanism involving rupees and roubles, on the line of a deal between Saudi Arabia and China in Chinese currency, yuan.
India’s petroleum and natural gas minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, speaking in the parliament on Tuesday confirmed that the government was engaged in discussions with Russia on crude oil purchases. ‘I myself have had a conversation with the appropriate levels of the Russian federation. There are discussions currently underway,’ he told lawmakers.
While the United States has completely banned Russian oil imports, the European Union has issued sanctions against some Russian companies, stopping short of fully banning the purchase of Russian oil.
The US and its European allies are discussing banning Russian oil imports over the operation in Ukraine.
India, a key trade partner of Russia, has abstained from voting against Moscow at the United Nations, which many attribute to its dependence on Russian weapons and oil.
US officials have refused to comment on whether India would face sanctions if Russia sends S-400 missile systems as part of a $5.5 billion deal signed in 2018.
Ely Ratner, US assistant secretary of defence for Indo-Pacific security affairs, told a US Congress hearing last week that India was diversifying its defence suppliers.
‘We recognise that India has a complicated history and relationship with Russia. The majority of the weapons that they buy are from the Russians,’ he said.
‘The good news is that they are in a multi-year process of diversifying their arms purchases away from Russia – that’s going to take some time. But they are clearly committed to doing that, including the indigenisation of their own defence industry and that’s something we should support,’ he added.
Indian-American Congressman Dr Ami Bera believes that if India goes ahead to buy Russian oil at a steeply discounted rate, it would be ‘choosing to side with Vladimir Putin’.
‘If reports are accurate and India makes this decision to buy Russian oil at a discounted price, New Delhi would be choosing to side with Vladimir Putin at a pivotal moment in history when countries across the world are united in support of the Ukrainian people and against Russia’s deadly invasion,’ he said.