War in Ukraine: Russia is more abandoned than ever

Afflicted by new sanctions and suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday, Russia finds itself more isolated than ever. However, even more drastic punishments will be needed to stop it, experts believe.

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“Symbolically, it’s powerful and it sends a clear message that Russia, in some way, is a rogue state. But that won’t change anything about the situation in Ukraine,” explains the director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, Daniel Béland.

Yesterday the UN General Assembly sanctioned Russia for its offensive in Ukraine. Out of 193 members, 93 were in favor of its suspension, while 24 voted against.

In the history of the United Nations, this is the second time that such a decision has been taken. In 2011, Libya was suspended for “brutal and systematic human rights abuses”.

“The fact that it’s so rare that we take such a step and the fact that the vote in favor wins quite clearly, that sends the message of growing isolation from Russia,” adds Mr. Béland.

Punish with hydrocarbons

To destabilize the Russian economy and deter Vladimir Putin, the United States and Europe decided yesterday to impose new sanctions against Russia, in particular by imposing a coal embargo.

The representatives of the Twenty-Seven have also decided to close access to European ports to Russian ships. For its part, the European Parliament wants to go further and voted by a majority yesterday for a complete embargo on Russian oil and gas. European foreign ministers are due to meet on Monday to discuss the issue.

For the professor of economics at Laval University Arthur Silve, it is precisely a total embargo on hydrocarbons that could change the course of the war.

“Since the beginning of the conflict, the West has bought nearly $30 billion in petroleum products from Russia, and provided nearly $1 billion in military support to Ukraine. We claim that we are really opposed to the Russians and, in practice, we are financing the Russian war effort”, deplores Mr. Silve.

Arm the invaded country

Like him, the founder of the Raoul-Dandurand Chair, Charles-Philippe David, believes that the sanctions will still hurt the Russian economy, “but not enough to bend Putin”.

And while the Russian army admitted yesterday to having heavy losses on the human and material side, it is more than ever necessary to continue to supply arms to Ukraine.

“We must provide them with military equipment and above all give the Ukrainians what they ask for,” explains Mr. David, referring to the fighter jets that have not been given to Ukraine.

– With AFP

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