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In an effort to garner more support for the war in Ukraine from U.S. allies, the White House has decided to send 2 U.S. Treasury officials to Europe and Central Asia next month to demand that Washington’s allies implement sanctions against Russia.
The officials, Brian Nelson and Liz Rosenberg will meet with leaders of financial institutions in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. According to the AP, the 2 officials will have a clear message, “1. Continue to provide Moscow with material support or 2. Keep doing business with countries that represent 50 percent of the global economy.”
The Treasury officials will also offer their European counterparts information and intelligence regarding reported sanctions evaders. Washington will threaten to issue “penalties” to countries that fail to crack down on those that are still engaging in trade with Russia. It is still uncertain just how far the Biden administration will go to punish NATO allies for disregarding sanctions against Russia.
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There is also uncertainty as to how European countries will react to the administration’s threats, with some EU members being in favor of lifting sanctions on the Belarusian fertilizer industry.
Furthermore, a tighter sanctions implementation could threaten the Black Sea grain agreement, which is a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey that allows Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to continue to export agricultural products. While Moscow has extended the agreement numerous times, there is growing concern that the Kremlin will terminate it over Western sanctions that prevent Russia from benefiting from the agreement.
After the invasion of Ukraine last year, the Biden administration implemented massive sanctions against Russia that were meant to economically damage the country and isolate its economy, however, the sanctions have not resulted in an overwhelming economic blow as intended.
Moscow has been able to stabilize its economy by increasing its trade with Beijing and other Asian countries.
While thus far Washington has only attempted to rally its NATO partners to adopt the sanctions, the White House has now decided to implement a harsher strategy to get compliance from other NATO members.
Meanwhile, China has been steadily building its Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with Saudi Arabia and Turkey being the most recent prospective members.
After recently joining the SCO, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi noted that the more countries the U.S. enforces sanctions on, the more likely the sanctioned countries are to become trading partners.
“The relationship between countries that are sanctioned by the U.S., such as Iran, Russia or other countries, can overcome many problems and issues and make them stronger,” Raisi said.
“The Americans think whichever country they impose sanctions on, it will be stopped, their perception is a wrong one,” he concluded.
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