Russia: Are sanctions ENOUGH? Does Putin take economic threats seriously?

Ukraine: Cleverly says Putin wants to 'recreate the Russian Empire'

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Mr Putin’s rapid invasion at approximately 5.45am Moscow time (3.45am GMT) marked the culmination of weeks of enhanced tension on Ukraine’s border. In a message filmed seemingly from his phone, the country’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, enacted martial law and told citizens the army would fend off the incursion. Western leaders joined him in unison, pledging immediate response to compliment earlier action taking against the Putin regime.

Are sanctions enough for Russia?

Western nations had responded to Russian aggression earlier this week when Mr Putin announced he would recognise separatist regions in Ukraine as independent.

They opted to strike with immediate sanctions, punishing Russia via its economy.

But many experts have warned the sanctions – at least in the limited extent they were applied – would not be enough to give Russian leaders pause.

Speaking to Sky News this morning, Sir Tony Brenton, the former British ambassador to Russia, said he “got to know” Vladimir Putin during his time in the role.

He said the Russian President is “not a gambler” and his latest actions in Ukraine had focussed on Ukraine’s separatist regions.

Focussing on these areas would result in an “almost guaranteed success” for his regime, and sanctions would “bounce off Russia’s back”.

He added: “The Russian government, Putin in particular, don’t take sanctions seriously.

“Not because they dismiss the potential economic damage they can do, but because they take Russian national security much more seriously than they take Russian economic welfare.”

The incursion, Sir Tony said, may end up being forgotten by western leaders in time.

The west’s “attention deficit disorder” with international politics would see the issue ultimately pass with little more than the sanctions Russia likely intends to disregard.

He added Russia would not become a “pariah state” as in the “wider world”, where the regime is “taken quite seriously”.

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China and India value the country and show the west’s “diminishing clout” in world affairs compared to the last decade.

Mr Putin would have calculated “at least in the immediate future”, relations with the west will be “lousy and frozen”, but his regime would continue “business as usual” in Asia.

Ultimately, Russia may be able to make up for any damage done by leaning increasingly on China.

In recent years, the two nations have enhanced ties with policies for mutual help.

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