West Backs Down, Putin and Most Powerful Russian Oligarchs Escape Sanctions

West Backs Down, Putin and Most Powerful Russian Oligarchs Escape Sanctions

World leaders met in London to discuss sanctions against Russia over its aggression against Ukraine, but it looks like people high on the ladder will not be affected.

Any asset freezes or visa bans imposed by the West on Moscow in reprisal for the deployment of Russian troops in Crimea will be targeted at “officials who have links to the action that has been taken with regard to the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty”, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will not be affected so that they can travel to talk about Ukraine. The rich oligarchs who are close to Putin will not be punished; instead, lower-level people who were directly involved in the aggression will likely be the targets.

Russian chess master Garry Kasparov is one of the most outspoken critics of Putin. He offered tips on how to hit Putin and Russia to persuade them to stop invading Ukraine.

British Prime Minister David Cameron talked a tough game leading up to the meeting. He said Britain learned from history and must be stern with Russia. Brooks Newark, a Conservative Member of Parliament, did not agree with Cameron’s actions and said they should target Putin and his friends:

“We should not be hitting the monkeys. We should be hitting the organ grinders,” he said.

“Putin has taken the gloves off by invading a sovereign country. We shoudn’t [sic] be pussy-footing around. We have to hit them in the pocket.”

Experts agree these sanctions will not work:

Analysts said the limited sanctions would be perceived as “anaemic” by Moscow and would do little to deter Mr Putin from tightening his grip on Crimea, which is occupied by Russian troops.

“It won’t be taken seriously at all by the Russian authorities. It will be seen as a sign of weakness by the West,” said Dr Andrew Foxall, director of the Russia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society.

The US implemented visa bans against Russians and Crimeans who are viewed as a threat to Ukraine’s sovereignty. The government also stopped all trade and military engagements with Russia.

On March 16, Crimea will hold a referendum, and its people will vote if they want to stay a part of Ukraine or join the Russian Federation. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said the referendum is illegal, and President Obama condemned it as well. He said he will push more sanctions if Russia uses the referendum vote to justify more action in Crimea and against Ukraine.