As US, EU Pile New Sanctions On Russia, WSJ Declares Punitive Measures Already "Failed" 

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Feb 23, 2024 - 03:25 PM

The US and EU on Friday are piling on fresh anti-Russia sanctions as the war in Ukraine reaches two years (Saturday marking the date of the invasion) and in the wake of Alexei Navalny's death in prison last week, which Russia has officially said was due to "natural causes". 

The US Treasury Department on Friday is unveiling over 500 new sanctions on Russia and industries connected to war sector. It's being hailed the single largest tranche of penalties slapped on Moscow since the war's start. This included export restrictions imposed on nearly 100 firms or individuals.

"The American people and people around the world understand that the stakes of this fight extend far beyond Ukraine," President Biden said in a statement which first unveiled the planned sanctions. "If Putin does not pay the price for his death and destruction, he will keep going. And the costs to the United States — along with our NATO Allies and partners in Europe and around the world — will rise."

Biden has further said the fresh action "will ensure" President Putin "pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home." Washington has also sought to target individuals and entities connected with Navalny's imprisonment. 

The new Friday statement prepared by the White House additionally stated, "Two years ago, he tried to wipe Ukraine off the map. If Putin does not pay the price for his death and destruction, he will keep going."

As for "paying the price" - just as Biden issued these words, The Wall Street Journal observed that two years after the invasion, the "biggest ever" sanctions are failing and have failed

Two years after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western sanctions have failed in their most important task—stopping the Kremlin’s war machine.

Western officials and experts say the financial, economic, military and energy sanctions imposed on Russia since February 2022 have damaged Russia’s economy and arms-production capacity, and will create serious problems for the Kremlin in the coming years. But they acknowledge the restrictions have hit more slowly than they hoped.

The report further acknowledges the merely symbolic nature of the new sanctions: "U.S. officials privately concede that the new measures set to to be announced Friday are likely to land a limited blow."

Could a future Trump administration make a U-turn on the Russia sanctions as part of potential negotiations to end the war? 

In tandem, the EU also announced a new round of sanctions. "Today, we are further tightening the restrictive measures against Russia’s military and defense sector," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stated. "We remain united in our determination to dent Russia’s war machine and help Ukraine win its legitimate fight for self-defense."

The EU sanctions target 106 more officials and nearly 90 entities that include companies, banks, and government agencies. It marks the 13th package of EU measures thus far in the war.