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Russian-Ukrainian crisis: do sanctions matter?

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Russian-Ukrainian crisis: do sanctions matter?

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Many eyes were on Geneva on Friday during talks between US Secretary of State Andrew Blinken and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov as the two nations continue to tussle over what US President Joe Biden has said is an imminent invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces massed along the border. .

Back in Canada, however, the Russian ambassador responded strongly to the Western response to his home country, with Canada announcing that it had sanctioned more than 400 individuals and entities since the annexation of Crimea by the Russia in 2014.

“Sanctions never work and sanctions can never work against such countries, such [a] nation like Russia. Attempts to use sanctions as a threat to force Russia to take certain steps on the international stage are just an illusion,” Ambassador Oleg Stepanov said on CTV’s Power Play on Thursday. “In fact, in Russia, and the Russian government, and I can tell you frankly, nobody cares about Western sanctions anymore.”

Confident as the Russian ambassador is, Alexander Lanoszka, an assistant professor of international relations at the University of Waterloo, said Russia cares about Western sanctions.

“Well, they care about sanctions because they have built up a huge strategic reserve of currency designed to withstand a new round of sanctions that Western nations might impose on Russia if it were to escalate against Ukraine.” , Lanoszka said on CTV. Your Friday morning.

However, at this point in the crisis with 100,000 Russian troops on the border, Lanoszka cautioned against being overconfident in what sanctions could accomplish.

“Of course one should not expect too much from sanctions, sanctions in this case increase the cost of aggression but they also impose red lines [and] they reinforce the standards of territorial integrity,” he said.

While Russia opposes Ukraine’s NATO membership, Lanoszka says there’s a lot more at stake.

“There’s a lot more behind that, so yes NATO membership as far as Ukraine is concerned is definitely on the table for Russia and maybe one of their main goals, but they really put emphasis on other things, including a rollback of all NATO measures put in place virtually since 1997 in Eastern and Central Europe,” Lanoszka explained. “Essentially depriving any country that has joined the alliance of any political or military support he has received, so these are very broad and really nonstarting goals for the organization.”

When asked if sanctions could prevent further military action by Russia, Lanoszka was evasive.

“Maybe not, I would say that the sanctions are not very effective at this stage of the crisis because Russia has reduced the cost associated with the sanctions, they have gone so far in the crisis, they have built up military forces, they know that certain actions on their part will trigger a response,” he said. “And they’ve discounted those costs already — that’s not to say we shouldn’t impose sanctions… but it shows we’re very deeply rooted in this crisis.

Lanoszka speculated that any further Russian incursion or invasion of Ukraine may not materialize as feared, with the arrival of a large-scale force.

“We really don’t know [what it will look like], but it is important to emphasize that invasion does not necessarily mean permanent occupation,” he said. “It could be that Russia launches limited strikes against Ukraine’s military assets, it could hold territory to force Kiev to capitulate or submit to certain Moscow demands…the range of possibilities is quite wide, I think the most likely military option Russia would use if it decided to use force would be something along the lines of limited military strikes.

With file from Ottawa Bureau Producer Sarah Turnbull

Russian-Ukrainian crisis: do sanctions matter?

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