Recently, tensions between Russia and both the US and EU escalated to a new height. It is no secret that as conflict between Russia and the Ukraine continues to grow, so does the rest of the western world’s disapproval with the Eastern European country. The United States’ president Barack Obama has stated on multiple occasions that America does not support Russia’s attempted annexation of Crimea or the Russian rebels fighting against the Ukraine, and the shooting down of the Malaysian Flight served to be the final straw. Numerous EU citizens were passengers on the Malaysian plane, and one passenger was a dual citizen of America.
Although Russia has had [[Sanctions|sanctions]] imposed against them by the US and EU for years, these sanctions are now to be increased tenfold. By delivering these financial hits, America and Europe hope not to start a Cold War-esque conflict with Russia, but rather to send a message. The goal is to show Russia that the Ukraine is able to govern itself and make its own decisions, and that no interference from an outside country is necessary or welcome. The pressure that will be put on the government and certain corporations by these sanctions is meant to discourage any future meddling in the Ukraine by Russia, and put an end to the actions that they are currently taking.
As the Russian economy is already stagnant, it is believed that these economic sanctions will serve to further decrease development and growth. The oil industry and technology licensing market are each expected to be hit hard, and relatively new fields that Russia is only just starting to explore, such as shale fields and deep-water wells, are likely to reach a screeching halt. Additionally, the US is specifically placing sanctions against 5 out of the 6 largest banks in Russia, which will serve to disrupt the country’s finance, trade and business sectors.
Despite the fact that the EU has previously been quite reluctant to enforce strict sanctions against Russia due to the profitable trade and business connections that exist between the two entities, the European Union is no longer holding back. It has declared that it is banning a majority of arms trading with Russia, and it has specifically blocked 8 individuals closely linked with Putin and 3 entities from doing business with all members of the EU. Similarly, the export of European goods to Russia is now also ending, even if the goods are meant to only be used for civilian purposes.
At this moment in time, it is unclear how effective these sanctions will wind up being, but the intent behind them is crystal clear. Although both the US and EU are only currently fighting back financially, many individuals believe that they will try implementing different tactics, including force, if Russia continues to ignore their warnings and requests. However, with how globalized the business industry has become, many professionals predict that this will be a very tough obstacle for Russia to overcome economically, especially if the sanctions are enforced for a long period of time.
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