Russian President Putin just recognized the independence of the two self-declared people’s republics in a long and historic speech. He strongly condemned Ukraine, which he believed would commit genocide against the Russian-speaking population.
“It is unacceptable”, Sjoerdsma said, and sanctions against Russia should therefore be “hard” and clear. “But we also have to be careful. And that is a very difficult combination in international politics,” he said. “We need to take sanctions now to make it clear to Putin that this is unacceptable. At the same time, we cannot put the whole package on the table. There should also be an opportunity for escalation if Putin takes another step, and that opportunity is very likely.”
There’s already a huge sanctions package on the table. For example, consideration is being given to removing Russia from the Swift payment system. There is also talk of not using the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. “These are things you have to save for the next stage”, says Sjoerdsma. “But then the EU still has enough money to put on the table right now.”
According to Sjoerdsma, severe personal sanctions are imposed on everyone involved in the decision-making of the people’s republic. D66 MPs expect the EU to respond “to change” tonight. “I think it will also happen in good coordination with the UK, Canada and the United States,” he said.
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