NATO Threatens Russia with Economic Sanctions
Dec. 1, 2021 (EIRNS)—NATO concluded its Nov. 30-Dec. 1 ministerial of foreign ministers with threats to make life very difficult for Russia if it were to decide to invade Ukraine. “We call on Russia to be transparent, de-escalate and reduce tensions,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a press conference following the first day of meetings. “Any future Russian aggression against Ukraine would come at a high price and have serious political and economic consequences for Russia. Ministers were clear that there must be no misunderstanding or miscalculation on NATO’s resolve.” Ukraine, as Stoltenberg acknowledged, is not a member and is not covered by the Atlantic Charter’s Article 5 collective security guarantee and so is limited to supporting sanctions imposed on Russia by its members and by the EU.
Stoltenberg insisted that the door to Ukraine’s NATO membership is still open, even 13 years after Kiev was offered a membership action plan. “The political message is that Russia does have no right whatsoever to interfere in that process,” he claimed. “Ukraine is a sovereign, independent nation. And every sovereign, independent nation has the right to choose its own path, including what kind of security arrangements it wants to be part of.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was even more warlike. “We don’t know whether President Putin has made the decision to invade. We do know that he is putting in place the capacity to do so on short order should he so decide,” Blinken claimed in remarks to reporters today in Riga, Latvia’s capital, reported the Associated Press. “We must prepare for all contingencies.”
“We’re also urging Ukraine to continue to exercise restraint because, again, the Russian playbook is to claim provocation for something that they were planning to do all along,” he said. Blinken said the U.S. has “made it clear to the Kremlin that we will respond resolutely, including with a range of high-impact economic measures that we’ve refrained from using in the past.” He gave no details, however, on what kind of “high-impact” sanctions were under consideration if Russia did invade Ukraine.