“Against Russia, we need total sanctions”
This is the platform: “On November 4th, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine exploded. To support its faltering war effort, the Kremlin announced conscription of 318,000 civilians. This mobilization did not have the desired effect. Hundreds of thousands of terrified Russians hastily left the country to escape a bloody war.
On the day of its announcement, the horrors of war seemed far from the apprehension of tourists strolling the Place Vendôme in Paris, or spectators of a Championship football match, English league 2. Among them, Alexandra and Mikhail Maniovitch, children of Timur Ivanov, Russia’s Undersecretary of Defence, who had left Russia a few months ago. Nobody seemed to care that their father fomented one of Europe’s deadliest conflicts since World War II.
Ukraine is grateful for the support provided by its Western allies, who see this as a fight for the security of all of us.
Since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, Ukraine has been grateful for the support provided by its Western allies, who see this as a fight for our security, democracy and our children. However, the carefree life led by Timur Ivanov’s children demonstrates flaws in the current system of sanctions.
In a war in which aggressors raped, killed and tortured thousands of innocent Ukrainians, Europe’s “open door” policy towards Russia must be questioned. European leaders must ask themselves whether Russia – still strongly supporting their government – can continue to enjoy the privilege of being free in Europe.
Of course, everything is not so gloomy. Let’s look at 2022 where everything changes: when Russia invaded my country, its leaders were shocked by the determination of Ukraine and its Western allies. The Ukrainian army, its volunteers and the Ukrainian people fought with unparalleled heroism. Russia has been confronted by Western unity on a military level, but also economically with the targeted imposition of sanctions.
But the impact of these measures has been mitigated by revenues from Russian oil and gas, as well as loopholes that allow some individuals and companies to circumvent the sanctions.
Many examples bear witness to this deficiency. Last July, among other cases, a tanker belonging to Vladimir Lissine, a Russian steel and energy magnate whose fortune is estimated at 24 billion euros, transferred its cargo to a ship flying the Maltese flag and belonging to a Greek company. The latter then unloaded at the Greek port of Agioi Theodoroi. Vladimir Lissine’s activities are not limited to oil: he also supplies steel through his steel company to Russian companies that manufacture nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that attack Ukraine. Despite this, no country, apart from Australia, has sanctioned Vladimir Lissine.
Sanctions against individuals must be extended and more severe
Early in 2023, we must convene a summit dedicated to sanctions to coordinate responses to the challenges we face. Many innovative solutions have been presented in this regard in recent months.
First, Western countries must move from piecemeal sanctions to systemic regimes to minimize their circumvention. In addition, we must implement a more robust and collaborative system between Western countries which will include a unified list of offenders and sanctions, and a system for evaluating them. Finally, sanctions against individuals must be extended and more severe. The oligarch should no longer be able to leave his property to his children or other family members to escape.
Russia’s war against Ukraine is the conflict that will shape the 21st century. This battle must be won and cannot be fought cheaply. If Russia wins, the security of the West and the international order it promotes will be destroyed.
We can defeat Russia now by imposing full-scale sanctions and increasing military support for Ukraine, or prepare to defeat it later in a more intense war, which will do more harm to the global economy and democracy around the world. »