The Kremlin has now spent five weeks in Ukraine, with Vladimir Putin's forces still unable to penetrate Kyiv. The last few days have seen devastati
The Kremlin has now spent five weeks in Ukraine, with Vladimir Putin’s forces still unable to penetrate Kyiv. The last few days have seen devastating revelations of Russian conduct in the neighbouring country, with mass graves found in the town of Bucha. Ukrainian officials have condemned the assault as a “genocide”, and western officials have committed to renewing sanctions.
Leaders designed their first sanction packages to target and dismantle the Russian economy in a fashion that would deter Putin’s “special military operation”.
Putin reacted early on to condemn the move against him and more recently argued that the west hoped to “cancel” Russia.
But he has only recently started to extract his forces from the country, leaving evidence of “unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians” behind.
Whether or not Putin relented under pressure from sanctions is unconfirmed, but they have had a multi-pronged and devastating impact on the national economy.
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Early news of impending sanctions led to a widespread panic that hit supermarkets first.
Understanding that their cost of living would soon rise via inflation, many Russians panic bought products, stripping shelves bare.
Since then, inflation has left people queuing for goods as they fear more impending price rises.
In mid-March, the price of sugar alone had climbed by 37 percent compared to before the invasion, alongside other products such as tomatoes (8.2 percent), cabbage (6.4 percent), and carrots (5.5 percent).
Sanctions have created an industry burn not seen in Russia since the Covid pandemic began in 2020.
Key manufacturing firms have seen their output decrease to their lowest rates in years, according to the S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index.
The index reported manufacturing activity at 44.1 percent in March, marking the “sharpest” contraction in recent years.
Inflation, again, is behind much of the chaos, with material prices near-insurmountable and causing severe shortages.
What will western nations do next?
Sanctions have placed the Russian economy on the edge of collapse, but the revelations from Bucha have convinced some leaders this is not enough.
An outraged White House declared on Tuesday that it would do more to “hold accountable the Russian kleptocracy that funds and supports Putin’s war”.
Jen Psaki, President Biden’s press secretary, told reporters that the US government would “impose acute and immediate economic harm on Russia”.
British authorities made similar commitments earlier this morning, reports suggest.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is poised to deliver new measures to target Russia’s strategic industry and energy.
The European Commission announced a similar plan on Tuesday, with further sanctions awaiting votes from the 27 EU members.
Among their proposals is a ban on Russian coal imports, which could an estimated £3.3 billion from Putin’s war chest.