На сайте Financial Times матерый журналист этого издания Гидеон Рахман рассуждает о реакции, которую Запад должен продемонстрировать в ответ на возможную эскалацию конфликта вокруг Украины.
В качестве одной из мер в рамках «третьей очереди» санкций предлагается ввести массовый запрет на выдачу виз россиянам (представителям среднего класса) — чтоб те почувствовали на своей шкуре, каково это — покушаться на территорию другого государства. Так что, господа, у кого еще не истекли шенгенские визы — имеет смысл их откатать. Привожу указанный пост г-на Рахмана (абзац про санкции для российского среднего класса — последний).
Eastern Ukraine and western reaction
April 13, 2014 2:39 pm by Gideon Rachman
As the situation in eastern Ukraine gets ever more volatile
, the West is still trying to figure out what to do. On Monday April 14th, EU foreign ministers are due to meet to discuss the situation. Top of the agenda will be the question of how to respond, if Russia invades eastern Ukraine. Defining “invasion” might be a trickier task than is sometimes realised. Agreeing on effective sanctions will be even harder. All the same, a new sanctions package really needs to be pulled together – and fast.
It seems pretty clear that Russia already has a hand in the occupation of Ukrainian government buildings in several cities in the east of the country. Unlike in Crimea, the Ukrainians seem willing to use force to re-take their buildings. Would Russia let that happen? Or would it further escalate the situation?
In some ways, a full-scale Russian invasion – complete with tanks and conventional troops (as opposed to provocateurs) – while incredibly dangerous, would also clarify the situation. But that is only one of the possibilities. Further Russian intervention could take many forms. they include:
1. Deniable provocations by Moscow-organised activists of the sort we’re
seeing now – which stop short of actually sending the troops on the
Russian side of the border, into Ukraine. The aim would presumably be to turn Ukraine into a basket-case, and also probably to stop the possibility of there being effective national elections on May 25th – since it seems important to Moscow that it can continue to claim that the government in Kiev is illegitimate.
2. Openly sending Russian troops into eastern Ukraine, on some phony humanitarian
mission. But stopping short of formal annexation.
3. Annexing a chunk of eastern Ukraine, on the Crimean model
4. Going all the way to Kiev. This seems unthinkable under current circumstances. But, remember, the annexation of Crimea would have seemed unthinkable a few months back.
Each of these moves would necessitate a different sort of response. If there were a conventional Russian invasion of Ukraine, the US, at least, would probably provide military assistance to Ukraine. Up until now, the Americans have resisted giving the Ukrainian military advanced new kit – on the grounds that they are so out-matched, that the West might simply be encouraging them into a fight, in which they got slaughtered. However, that line would be difficult to hold, if the Ukrainian military put up more than token resistance. If a war turned into a guerrilla struggle against occupying Russian forces, support for the Ukrainian side could presumably be organised fairly easily.
However, the prospect of facing an insurgency in Ukraine – and the difficulty of knowing exactly where, on the map, any Russian intervention would stop – might well prevent the Russians from attempting anything as foolishly clear-cut as a conventional invasion. Instead, Moscow may stick with the current option – encouraging “spontaneous” uprisings across eastern Ukraine, that keeps both the West and the government in Kiev off balance.
If the EU and the US are satisfied that these provocations can be traced back directly to Moscow, then they have little option but to move to “stage three” of sanctions. The European Commission has been charged with studying what kind of sanctions the EU should consider. This is obviously a very tricky task, given the scale and differing nature of the economic risks involved, for different EU states – from German reliance on Russian gas, to British financial interests and that French arms-contract.
Unfortunately, the EU has taken the sensitivity of the issues involved, as a reason to conduct its review of possible sanctions, under conditions of deep secrecy. This has had the perverse effect of encouraging the Russians – who are well aware of EU nervousness and divisions – not to take the sanctions exercise seriously enough. It would be an important advance, if EU ministers released a list of possible options, after their meeting tomorrow – so that the Russian government and the Russian people had some idea of what they might be facing, in the near future.
As well as the panoply of complicated financial sanctions (banning Russian banks and the like), the EU should now consider a much wider visa-ban – targeting not just the cronies of Vladimir Putin, but the Russian middle-classes. As long as well-off Russians continue to be free to travel to London or Paris on shopping trips, why should they take Western outrage over Ukraine seriously?