Von der Leyen on sanctions: “Russia would be isolated from financial markets”

Status: 02/20/2022 22:25

What would the sanctions look like if Russia really started a war? EU Commission President von der Leyen commented on this at the ARD very specifically: the country would be “practically isolated from the financial markets”.

In the event of an attack on Ukraine, Russia has to fear drastic sanctions, as Western heads of state have been emphasizing for days. Now, the president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, specified in the program ana will possible actions. “If Vladimir Putin starts a war, we will respond with the most powerful lever we have: economic and financial sanctions, because the economy is Russia’s weakest link,” he said. “Financial sanctions would mean that Russia would be virtually cut off from international financial markets.”

However, von der Leyen left it open whether this meant Russia’s exclusion from Swift’s international banking communications network. However, Western financial institutions would also be greatly affected by this, as it would then be considerably more difficult to transfer money to and from Russia.

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in conversation with Anne Will

Anne Will, 20.2.2022

Sanction goods “that Russia urgently needs”

According to von der Leyen, the economic sanctions “would affect all the goods that Russia urgently needs to modernize and diversify its economy, but that are produced by us, where we have global dominance and that Russia cannot replace.” Russia’s economy relies heavily on the export of fossil fuels, which fuel about half of the national budget. Also, inflation is very high at almost nine percent.

He explained that there was broad agreement on these steps with Western partners such as the US, Canada and Britain. Putin tried to divide Europe with disinformation, cyber attacks and other means. However, he did not manage to do this, on the contrary, there is an exchange as lively as it has not been for a long time. By threatening sanctions, von der Leyen hopes to dissuade Moscow from a possible plan of attack and encourage new negotiations.

The gas supply in winter is assured

Von der Leyen does not make a clear statement about Nord Stream 2. First, the Federal Network Agency must answer the question about the approval of the pipeline. “Then it will be presented to the Commission and then we will carry out the evaluation process.” In addition, the security of supply in Europe must also be taken into account. At least for this winter, however, he gave the go-ahead: until then, in an emergency, Europe could also import liquefied gas from other regions of the world. In the long term, it is important to create your own supply of green hydrogen in order to rely less on imports.

Sanctions also affect the German economy

Meanwhile, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck has prepared the public for the serious economic consequences of possible sanctions. It must be said clearly “that the sanctions will also hit our own economy hard”, the green politician told the “Handelsblatt”. That is clear to “our company”. However, he confirmed that if Russia escalates the conflict, the EU will respond with harsh economic sanctions in coordination with its partners.

In view of the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, Lithuania and Latvia are calling for immediate Western sanctions against Russia and a strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank. The fact that Russian troops remain in Belarus, contrary to previous assurances from Moscow, is a “game changer for the security of NATO countries bordering Belarus,” the Lithuanian foreign minister wrote on Twitter. Gabrielius Landsbergis. “NATO reinforcements and EU sanctions are appropriate.” His Latvian counterpart, Edgars Rinkevics, also said: “It is clear that the transatlantic community must start implementing sanctions against Russia and that NATO must deploy more forces in the region.”

Vince Fernandez

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