What Putin’s alleged attack on UK gives America a pretext for sanctions | Lizzy Davies

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‘Military aid means changing politics’, says former Central Bank chief as U.S. says might levy ‘necessary’ sanctions

This is a continuation of our Briefing from April 5 on the “threat” to Russia’s economy from Trump’s threats to push forward with targeted sanctions against firms doing business with the Kremlin.

As we explained at the time, a “military aid” aid package that included the delivery of advanced weapons systems for the Russian military could prove counterproductive against Moscow’s propaganda in Europe and undermine its economic performance.

The U.S. threatened to slap sanctions on Russia’s defense and energy sectors, as well as major companies, even if Moscow made additional concessions in securing a deal over Ukraine.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump could impose “necessary” sanctions against Russia under existing authorities.

Here are some key quotes:

Hank Nothhaft, who as Central Bank chairman was a key figure behind Russia’s crash in 1998 in a financial crisis triggered by a spike in global energy prices and rising interest rates:

The creation of the “incumbent creditor” approach by Russia’s richest oligarchs in the face of the debt crisis is a de facto partnership with the financial system. Once social and financial shock absorbers are removed, there can be no rebound.

This is a dangerous recipe for instability.

… a scenario is not far-fetched where Moscow might drag the Kremlin into a confrontation similar to the military aid effort seen in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

The cost of cutting off the money supply is less painful, though, than the cost of sustaining the impact.

“This is all about Russians hitting back and me. When I shut my door, they attack our infrastructure. My house is here, they attack my children. I fight them. They attack my house; I fight them,” Aydin might have tweeted.

Russian and Ukrainian ministers will discuss the issue at the on Friday. Both countries have been at odds over their respective economies and relations in general.

Radek Sikorski, Poland’s former foreign minister:

We are seeing Trump behaving exactly like we saw former president Obama behaving toward us in 2013.

To ask the president not to sit down with President Putin – who is beyond sick of his political opponents from Washington and Europe – is to ask him to stand alone and fend off an aggressive Russia.

He has already accomplished this with Iran, Syria and North Korea, and this is just the first of a series of measures he is likely to take.

Citing unidentified sources, The Guardian reported today that Donald Trump has weighed the possibility of taking action against Russia for its alleged role in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Wednesday it is “not helpful” if U.S. moves are imminent.

Sources from Moscow say sanctions will be announced later this year to target senior government officials, company executives and their families, the BBC reports.

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