This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
U.S. and U.K. officials on January 30 increased urgent warnings to Moscow if it escalates militarily against Ukraine, vowing to closely coordinate “devastating” sanctions that would be felt by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian public.
U.S. Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland said the White House is cooperating with the Senate to ensure any sanctions measures would be “very well aligned” with those coming from European allies.
Putin “will feel it acutely, as will the Russian people,” Nuland said.
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said London would disclose sanctions legislation next week targeting “a much wider variety” of economic targets.
“There will be nowhere to hide for Putin’s oligarchs,” Truss told Sky News.
With more than 100,000 Russian troops amassed near Ukraine’s border along with tanks, artillery, and other equipment, Western leaders have spent weeks driving home the potential cost to Russia of an invasion against its much smaller neighbor.
Moscow has said it does not have plans to invade, but on January 30 Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issued a vague claim without elaborating that “our security is infringed daily.”
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (Democrat-New Jersey), who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee in the upper house, hinted that punitive measures could be taken over actions Russia has allegedly already taken in Ukraine, including cyberattacks.
But if Moscow decides to invade, he added, it could face “devastating sanctions that ultimately would crush Russia.”
He compared it the prewar appeasement of the Nazis and warned, “Putin will not stop with Ukraine.”