Russia to lose access to financial markets if it attacks Ukraine— EU Warns


BRUSSELS, Belgium: Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Union Executive Commission, has said if Russia attacks Ukraine, Moscow would lose access to financial markets and high-tech goods as part of Western sanctions.

Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden said he was convinced that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine.

Also, during the annual Munich Security Conference, von der Leyen said, “The Kremlin’s dangerous thinking, which comes straight out of a dark past, may cost Russia a prosperous future.”

The EU’s executive arm has developed a “robust and comprehensive package” of possible financial sanctions against Russia, developed with the U.S., UK and Canada, she added.

“In case that Russia strikes, we will limit the access to financial markets for the Russian economy and impose export controls that will stop the possibility for Russia to modernize and diversify its economy,” she said.

“And we have a lot of high-tech goods where we have a global dominance, and that are absolutely necessary for Russia and cannot be replaced easily,” she noted.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his country was coordinating closely with the EU regarding possible sanctions.

“If Russia invades its neighbor, we will sanction Russian individuals and companies of strategic importance to the Russian state, and we will make it impossible for them to raise finance on the London capital markets,” he said in Munich.

During a meeting last week with Putin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he “made clear that any further violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine will have high costs for Russia, politically, economically and geo-strategically.”

However, western leaders have yet to specify which precise Russian actions would trigger sanctions.

A French official, on condition of anonymity, said, “It is in the event of an invasion of this territory that the massive sanctions that we are talking about would be triggered.”

In Munich with other members of the U.S. Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said sanctions might include restricting access to the SWIFT banking system, which could cut Russia off from most international financial transactions.

“That is still a matter of negotiation,” she said.

Asked if Congress would come back early from its recess next week if Russia invades Ukraine, Pelosi said, “The President has the authority to implement those sanctions without the Congress.”


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