“…we’re united in our efforts to raise the costs on the Kremlin for waging this ongoing war of choice, which has already displaced more than 2 million Ukrainians,” said some hours ago Anthony Blinken 8Secretary of State of the Unites States of America at a joint press conferece with Elisabeth Truss (Foreign Affairs Secretary of the UK).
More economic aid, bills to prosecute Russian dark money and oligarchs, sanctions escalation including Belarus and ban on imports of oil
“Earlier this week Prime Minister Johnson announced an additional 175 million pounds in aid to Ukraine, bringing the UK’s total support during the crisis, I believe, to approximately 400 million pounds. This includes direct assistance for the Ukrainian Government to pay the salaries of Ukraine’s public sector employees, who are keeping critical services running where they haven’t been bombed by the Russians.
The UK was one of the first European countries to send defensive lethal security assistance to Ukraine. And the government has imposed severe financial sanctions on President Putin, his inner circle, Russian oligarchs, and others who enable and fuel this aggression.
Just days ago, the House of Commons passed a new economic crime bill aimed at making it easier to sanction groups of corrupt individuals, and harder for those trying to hide their money in the UK.
Yesterday, in the latest of many steps that we’ve taken together to hold the Kremlin accountable, President Biden banned all imports of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal; Prime Minister Johnson committed to ban all imports of Russian oil by the end of 2022,” Blinken said.
“Just yesterday, with the supplemental legislation being put forward, we have an additional $6.5 billion in security assistance that’s now on tap just from the United States for Ukraine. And that will of course include the very kinds of things that they need to effectively defend Ukraine against Russian aggression,” he pointed.
“We must double down on our sanctions. That includes a full SWIFT ban, and the G7 ending its use of Russian oil and gas. The United States and the United Kingdom this week announced our plans to stop importing Russian oil, and the EU have announced their plans to reduce their dependency, too. We want to encourage a wider group of countries to get on board with our sanctions effort. A hundred and forty-one countries voted against Russian aggression at UNGA.
And we must continue to supply defensive weapons to Ukraine. I’m proud that the United Kingdom was the first European country to do that, and I welcome the decision of Germany, and Japan, and many others to send military aid,” Elisabeth Truss (Foreign Affairs Secretary of the UK) explained.
The EU agreed on escalating economic sanctions both against Russia and Belarus
The EU Council extended SWIFT exclusion to three banks from Belarus (Belagroprombank, Bank Dabrabyt, and the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus, as well as their Belarusian subsidiaries) some hours ago. The EU also banned all transactions with the Central Bank of this country as well as a ban on export of maritime navigation goods and radio communication technology to Russia. Today and tomorrow the European Council is discussing how to reduce EU energy dependence on Russian gas and oil.
The IEA (International Energy Agency) provided on this latest pòint some days ago a 10 point plan to meet this need, including cutting imports from Russian gas and oil or at least not signing any new supply contract from now on.
The EU Council also agreed some hours ago on a clarification of the concept of “transferable securities” including crypto currencies under the mentioned denomination in order to cut their use as a means to avoid the effectiveness of the economic sanctions already imposed to Russia.
Not closing skys but providing air deffence weapons and perhaps war planes
“Introducing, in our case, American service members in Ukraine, on Ukrainian territory or soil, or American pilots into Ukrainian airspace, whether on a full or on a limited basis, would almost certainly lead to direct conflict between the United States (between NATO) and Russia, and that would expand the conflict. It would prolong it. It would make it much more deadlier than it already is. And that would be neither in the interest of our countries nor in the interest of Ukraine. I can’t speak for NATO, obviously, but we’ve heard the same message from its secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg,” explaind the Secreatry of State of the USA.
“…our defense secretary announced that we will now be supplying air defense systems to address the specific issue the Ukrainians face, which is air defense. So we believe that the best way of tackling this threat is to help the Ukrainians with the Starstreak air defense systems that we will be supplying.
On the issue of a no-fly zone (over humanitarian corridors), of course it’s important, and I completely support what Tony has said about protecting humanitarian corridors and calling on Russia to respect those genuine humanitarian corridors, i.e., ones that don’t lead into Russia or Belarus. But the reality is that setting up a no-fly zone would lead to a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia, and that is not what we are looking at. What we are looking at is making sure that the Ukrainians are able to defend their own country with the best possible selection of anti-tank weapons and anti-air defense systems,” Truss said
About the chance to provide Ukraine with US fighter planes, Secretary Blinken pointed: “You heard from the Department of Defense just yesterday about the particular proposal, the prospect of fighter jets at the disposal of the Unites States Government departing from a U.S. NATO base in Germany to fly into air space contested with Russia over Ukraine raises some serious concerns for the entire NATO Alliance. So we have to work through the specifics of these things going forward. And it’s not simply clear to us that there is a substantive rationale for doing it in the way that was put forward yesterday.
So what we’re doing right now is continuing to consult very closely with Poland, with other NATO Allies on this and the logistical challenges that it presents, together with Poland as well as with the UK and many of our other partners. As we’ve noted, we have provided extraordinary support to Ukraine and to those defending it from the Russian aggression, support that has been used extremely effectively by Ukrainian defenders, support that will continue in the days, weeks, and months ahead.
Just yesterday, with the supplemental legislation being put forward, we have an additional $6.5Bn in security assistance that’s now on tap just from the United States for Ukraine. And that will of course include the very kinds of things that they need to effectively defend Ukraine against Russian aggression.”
Humanitarian corridors for Ukrainians to flee into Belarus and Russia, an absurd proposal
“…The Kremlin’s proposals to create humanitarian corridors leading into Russia and Belarus are absurd. It’s offensive to suggest the Ukrainian people should seek refuge from the very government that has demonstrated such disregard for their lives. The civilians who were able to escape yesterday through one of those corridors from Sumy to Poltava, another city in Ukraine, shows that this is possible, but it must be allowed to happen on a much broader scale,” Blinken underscored.
“We’re also united in calling on the Kremlin to immediately allow Ukrainian civilians to safely depart the cities and towns of Ukraine that are besieged by Russian forces. Every country has a responsibility to join us in pressing Moscow to do this. This is not the time to equivocate by calling on both sides to allow civilians in Ukraine’s cities to leave safely. Doing so obfuscates the basic facts around why these corridors are necessary, and who is blocking them.
Russia invaded Ukraine without justification. Russian forces now encircle multiple Ukrainian cities, after having destroyed much of their critical infrastructure, leaving people without water, without electricity, without access to food and medicine. And Russia’s relentless bombardment, including of civilians trying to flee, prevents people from safely escaping the hellish conditions that they have created,” he added.
Image over the headline.- Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken meets with UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on March 9, 2022. State Department photo by Freddie Everett/ Public Domain.
Related Eastwind links:
Related external links:
Council Regulation (EU) 2022/398 of 9 March 2022 amending Regulation (EC) No 765/2006 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Belarus and the involvement of Belarus in the Russian aggression against Ukraine
Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/396 of 9 March 2022 implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine ST/6953/2022/INIT (including more Russian citiyzens)