- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Europe May Be Hit Hard by Anti-Russia Sanctions After 30 Years of Commercial ‘Ostpolitik’ - Analysts

© Sputnik / Egor Eryomov /  / Go to the mediabankGazprom's Zapadnaya gas distribution station in Belarus
Gazprom's Zapadnaya gas distribution station in Belarus - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.03.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Europe will likely be hit hard by new anti-Russian sanctions after three decades of commercial "Ostpolitik" that increased interdependence with countries outside the Western sphere, analysts said.
On Wednesday, the US and its allies unveiled new sanctions against 22 Russian defenсe-related entities over the military operation in Ukraine. On the same day, US Republican senators Marco Rubio and Chuck Grassley introduced a "Heroiam Slava" bill that would deny companies controlled or owned by Moscow, such as Rosneft, Gazprom, Rosatom, Aeroflot, and RT, access to critical American capital.
The moves mark the latest in a massive wave of sanctions, bans, and export control restrictions levied by the US and Europe targeting Russian airlines, oil firms, financial institutions, business leaders, and media outlets, among other companies and sectors.

Blowback on Europe - and the World

Several European countries, led by Germany, since near the end of the Cold War gradually embraced a policy called "Ostpolitik" which encompassed boosting political and trade ties outside the Western sphere - including with the Soviet Union and its Eastern Bloc satellites. This rapprochement, while providing many benefits for the West, some experts think also made European states more vulnerable.
"Europe will be hit hard by the sanctions due to the three decades of its commercial 'Ostpolitik’ that has increased its interdependence with Russia/China thus making Europe vulnerable to US-imposed sanctions," California State University Political Science Professor Beau Grosscup told Sputnik. "It is why the Europeans, France and Germany in particular remain reserved about all the US-NATO saber rattling."
Despite these concerns in Berlin and Paris, the world was now so interdependent that a lot of "collateral damage" was sure to occur as a result of the economic sanctions, particularly since this conflict has rallied so many countries against Russia, Grosscup said.
The logo of global secure financial messaging services cooperative SWIFT is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017 - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.03.2022
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Historian and political commentator Dan Lazare expressed his concern that the crisis and the US reaction to it was creating a transition period to a new, more dangerous era of international instability and economic upheaval.
"I think the world has passed through a wormhole separating the ‘normal’ world of yesteryear from a brave new world of inflation, recession, and war. Here in the US, gasoline prices have nearly doubled since mid-2020, oil is up 33% since January 1 while natural gas prices in Germany over the last twelve months have more than quadrupled," Lazare said.
These problems were certain to get even worse in the coming months, Lazare warned.
"The pain can only increase as energy prices continue to rocket and the war intensifies. This means more inflation, a deepening Fed crackdown, and recession. Bottom line: the economic consequences are not going to be pretty and the political consequences won't be either," he said.
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The major nations of Asia might well cushion some of the impact of the Western sanctions against Russia, Lazare advised.
"China is the great unknown, and so to a certain degree is India. If the former buys Russian gas, that will take some of the economic pressure off [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and facilitate Russia's integration into the East Asian economy. That in turn implies a reversal of globalization and a return to regional power blocks," he said.
The same thing will occur if Moscow and Beijing join forces against Washington's politicization of the SWIFT international financial messaging system, Lazare cautioned.
Western punitive sanctions against Russia are likely to damage most of all developing economies of the Global South that were not directly connected to the crisis at all, Lazare pointed out.

Sanctions Uncertainty

Former EU consultant Professor Paolo von Schirach, president of the Global Policy Institute in Washington, assessed that the new sanctions had the potential to inflict serious damage on the Russian economy but great uncertainty remained on how comprehensively they would be imposed and for how long.
However, the expert also agreed that the sanctions would have negative effects on the countries imposing them although it was not yet clear what those would be.
"It is understood that these extraordinary measures aimed at freezing all or most international financial and trade transactions involving Russia will have some negative repercussions on Western countries. But it is not clear how severe they will be," von Schirach said.
It was unlikely that Russia will be able to sufficiently develop overnight new, significant trade and financial relationships with countries not enforcing sanctions.
"For sure, Russia will be able to continue to do business with China, Iran, maybe India and other countries in Latin America or Africa. But this will not be enough to offset the loss of business with Europe and other developed economies," he said.
In the end, sanctions alone may not be enough to bend Russia's political will regarding Ukraine, von Schirach said.
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