The sanctions policy is working. The U.S. and Europe have managed to insist on this course of action.
Just as Washington has continued to exert economic pressure against Russia, the European Union has managed to insist that the policy of economic sanctions played the decisive role for the Kremlin in the destabilization and break-up of Ukraine. Following the announcement of the European measures, the U.S. triggered others against Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, as well as the main banks and an industrial defense conglomerate. Coordination between Brussels and the U.S. raises trouble for the Russians in the form of retaliation.
In Europe, where supporters face a war of rhetoric and a confrontational policy to be taken over sooner or later, which will put the 28 member states in conflict with Moscow — the EU has opted to commit to measures that have proven efficient. These measures are much more responsive effective and in front of which, Vladimir Putin is much more sensitive when it comes time to weigh decisions with regard to his Western neighbor.
The final round of European sanctions brings two more important changes. The first is that it will affect the oil sector for the first time, which is a key part of the Russian economy. Therefore, Putin has received the message that the EU considers no area taboo when it comes time to apply sanctions. Moreover, there is no advantageous position prior to understanding, for example, that defeated summer did not make him about to put the subject of energy relations with Moscow on the table.
The other is that this second round of European measures applies after the member states agreed to announce the sanctions but not apply them, given the ceasefire agreement between the Ukrainian government and the pro-Russian rebels. A round of direct calls to five groups between President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Italy — and the unanimity between them, forged mainly by German Chancellor Angela Merkel — forced the rest of the European states to accept this method.
It is not possible to overlook that Spain — which expressed discretion on the application of these sanctions — has remained outside the inner circle where decisions are made. In this case, regarding the battle with Russia, they have already demonstrated that some national production sectors have been affected.