Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 13.02.2019
The Russian Federation committed an open act of war on 25 November 2018 when it attacked the Ukrainian Navy in the Black Sea near the Kerch Strait. Instead of declaring that a state of war exists – which it does – Western powers have done nothing except express “deep concern” about Russian aggression. But as time passes and Russian state-sponsored terrorism continues against Ukraine unabated, the European Union and the United States may finally be considering sanctions on the Russian individuals and entities responsible.
The Financial Times reported on Tuesday, February 12, that EU and US diplomats and other officials are working together on a package of new sanctions. They are targeted on those responsible for the the Russian Federation’s newest and most blatant act of aggression against Ukraine.
EU foreign ministers are to meet on February 18. Top of the agenda will be the Russian Federation’s expanded aggression against Ukraine and the acute pressure felt in the Sea of Azov basin. Speaking to Financial Times reporters, diplomats said that new sanctions are expected to be imposed against individuals and concerns responsible for Russia’s act of war on 25 November 2018.
In that act of war, Russian forces rammed three Ukrainian Navy boats, shot at them from the sea and air, pursued them from near the Kerch Strait into international waters of the sea, boarded them, and took captive the crews. The Russian Federation detains 24 Ukrainian Navy sailors illegally, and refuses to afford them the protections of the Third Geneva Convention granted to prisoners of war. The Russians have pirated the three Ukrainian naval vessels and refuses to give them back. The Russian Federation has its illegally-constructed Kerch Strait bridge to impose an effective maritime blockade on Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov by hindering the transit of ships moving to and from those ports.
The Russian Federation has point-blank refused EU and US demands to release the Ukrainian sailors. Even the powerful Russia-appeasement factions which dominate the French and German governments are taken aback by Russian war-mongering and intransigence. The momentum is turning towards new sanctions.
There is no sign that Canada will participate in the new package of sanctions. Although Canada has a Magnitsky law, it has not sanctioned any corrupt Russian officials for the crimes against humanity they are committing against Ukrainian political prisoners and prisoners of war. Canada has not sanctioned the organizers of the illegal Russian Federation presidential election held in Russian-occupied Crimea, Ukraine, nor the organizers of the illegal so-called local elections held in Russian-occupied Donbas, Ukraine. Canada has not introduced a single new sanction related to Russia since 18 March 2016, almost three years ago.
A state of war exists because the Russian Federation invaded and is continually attacking Ukraine. The very least that friends-of-Ukraine countries can do is impose new sanctions on Russian individuals and entities responsible for waging war in the heart of Europe.