Ukrainian MPs tell Insider current Western sanctions on Russia aren’t enough to stop an all-out invasion: ‘We need more’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and President Joe Biden (R.)

A composite image of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden.Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

  • Putin ordered Russian troops to enter eastern Ukraine on Monday night.

  • The US and UK responded with sanctions on Russian individuals and businesses.

  • Three Ukrainian MPs told Insider the current measures aren’t enough to make Putin back down.

The West’s current sanctions on Russia are not strong enough to deter President Vladimir Putin from launching a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, three Ukrainian Members of Parliament told Insider.

Putin ordered Russian forces to enter eastern Ukraine on Monday night after recognizing two pro-Kremlin oblasts, Donetsk and Luhansk, as independent regions. The international community continues to recognize them as Ukrainian territory.

The US, UK, and EU reacted swiftly with sanctions targeting Russian businesses and individuals, saying they would impose more punishments if Russia went further.

‘Why would he stop?’

All three MPs who spoke to Insider believe that isn’t enough to end Putin’s bellicose intentions.

“They’ve not gone far enough, and there is a frustration on the side of the Ukrainians,” Inna Sovsun, an MP with the Holos party, told Insider.

“There is this big disappointment that we have been left alone,” she said, while acknowledging that the West had imposed some sanctions so far.

Sovsun said she believed the vast majority of MPs across the political spectrum agreed that more needs to be done to deter Putin.

Holos leader Kira Rudik told Insider there’s no question that Putin will invade Ukraine: “I am sure he will move further. If we are not able to stop him now, why would he stop?”

A tank drives along a street after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of Russian troops to two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine following the recognition of their independence, in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk, Ukraine February 22, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

A tank drives along a street in Donetsk, Ukraine, on February 22, 2022.REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Ivanna Klympush, an MP with the European Solidarity party, also told Insider that current sanctions “aren’t enough to preclude further invasion into Ukraine.”

If the severity of sanctions doesn’t increase, Putin will press home his advantage and invade, she said.

‘Let them come to Putin and say, “What the hell”‘

Putin has derided the idea of sanctions, and both Sovsun and Rudik said any punishment must directly target Putin’s closest allies, who could pressure him to shift course.

“Cancel the visas of all Putin’s cronies and their families,” Sovsun said. “Freezing their assets is good, but they are still extremely rich.”

Rudik agreed, saying the West needs to sanction “not only his closest circle and the Duma, but the members of their families.”

“Let them come to Putin and say, ‘What the hell,'” she said.

The US, UK, and EU sanctions all target multiple high-profile and high-net-worth Russians.

Another option floated in the US as a potential punishment for Russia was to remove it from SWIFT, the global network for international financial transfers.

“That could be the stopper. That could be very painful,” Rudik said.

The US has not ruled it out. “We are not taking SWIFT off the table, it will remain an option that we can deploy depending on how Russia makes its next move,” Russia’s state-run TASS news agency cited a US official as saying.

Russia said it would block oil, gas and minerals from reaching Europe if it was ejected. Many European nations including Germany, the region’s largest economy, are heavily reliant on Russian energy supplies.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seen at Arlington National Cemetery on September 1, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Arlington, Virginia, in September 2021.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Ukraine also needs more military backing from its partners, Rudik and Klympush said.

“We need additional long-distance weapons,” Rudik said.

The US and UK have so far refrained from sending troops into Ukraine because it is not a NATO member. However, the UK sent artillery last month, and said on Wednesday it would provide more weaponry, including “lethal aid.”

The prospect of NATO membership for Ukraine infuriates Putin, and is one of his main justifications for sending more than 150,000 troops to Ukraine’s borders since November.

Klympush also called on the West to consider reviving the Lend-Lease scheme, which was last used during World War II. The program saw US weaponry lent effectively free of charge if its use served America’s interests.

“If they are damaged in war, Ukraine won’t have to pay,” Klympush said of the arsenal.

MPs say Zelensky moved too slow in face of Russian aggression

Sovsun and Rudik also told Insider they believed President Volodymyr Zelensky was too slow to call for a state of emergency, and that he should have imposed martial law as a priority. None of the MPs Insider spoke with are members of Zelensky’s Servant of the People party.

Ukraine is expected to declare a state of emergency later on Wednesday, a move that the country’s top security official said paves the way for martial law.

Zelensky’s argument against the measure, according to Sovsun, is that “if we declare martial law, Putin will use this to say Ukraine is getting militarized.”

Putin’s real intentions for Ukraine remain a mystery, but Sovsun said anything is possible.

“I could try to predict the actions of the rational person, I cannot predict the actions of a guy who has clearly gone crazy,” she said.

“There is no rationality in what he is doing.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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