eyes on russia
Two days, two big blows for Moscow.
European Union foreign ministers are meeting today to finalize sanctions against Russia, due to Moscow's continued transfer of arms, equipment, and fighters into eastern Ukraine. European nations had been hesitant to apply such sanctions due to their close economic links with Russia, particularly their dependency on Russian natural gas, but it seems like the downing of Flight 17 two weeks ago has underlined just how serious a threat to regional security the ongoing conflict in Ukraine really is.
The sanctions will reportedly target Russia's banking sector and high-technology exports to Russia's energy sector. They will also impose an arms embargo. This comes hot on the heels of yesterday's decision by Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague to award $50 billion in damages to former shareholders in Yukos, the Russian energy firm nationalized by the Russian state in 2005.
Putin, however, claims to not really care. According to the Financial Times, an unnamed source close to him claimed these matters were insignificant in the context of the larger impasse over Ukraine. He menacingly added: "There is a war coming in Europe. Do you really think this matters?"