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2014年8月 2日 (土)

対露制裁強化 米欧の協調で圧力かけ続けよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Concerted action by U.S., EU vital in applying continued pressure on Russia
対露制裁強化 米欧の協調で圧力かけ続けよ

It is highly significant that the United States and Europe have taken concerted actions to toughen diplomatic pressure on Russia, determined to accept the adverse impact it will have on their economies.

Washington and the European Union have decided to implement tougher economic sanctions against Moscow, penalties that are said to be on the largest scale since the end of the Cold War between East and West.

While strongly condemning Russia’s actions since its March annexation of the Crimea Peninsula, a territory of Ukraine, the EU has indicated additional penalties depending on how Moscow responds.

The sanctions are aimed at pressuring Russia to cooperate in the international investigation of the downing of a Malaysian Airlines jet on July 17 over eastern Ukraine.

The site has been controlled by pro-Russia separatist armed groups since the deadly incident occurred. Traces of cutting, which can be interpreted as an attempt to destroy evidence, were found in the wreckage of the aircraft. The preservation of the site has been far from what was called for in a U.N. Security Council resolution.

An international investigation team became able to enter the site from Thursday, a couple of weeks after the crash.

Russia must exercise its influence over pro-Russia separatist armed groups to shed light on the truth of the incident. It must also stop its intervention into Ukraine.

The U.S. and EU lists of sanctions exclude Russia companies involved with natural gas, as such sanctions would be extremely detrimental to Europe, but they have targeted key Russian economic sectors such as finance, defense and energy.

Key sectors targeted

The penalties call for restricting Russian national banks’ procurement of funds in U.S. and European financial markets. The penalties further ban new arms transactions, provision of technology with dual military and civilian uses, and the supply of expertise and equipment used for the development of offshore oil fields and shale oil.

The EU had been reluctant to implement substantial sanctions against Russia, which is its major energy supply source. But it hardened its stance in the aftermath of the deadly incident, as the Netherlands, which lost many citizens in the crash, called for tougher sanctions, prompting a wary Germany to act.

The U.S. release of satellite images as evidence of rocket attacks on Ukraine from Russian territory also helped encourage Europe to enact tougher sanctions.

The Russian economy has been showing signs of deterioration, including drops in stock prices and Russian ruble exchange rates plus capital outflow. The Russian economy as a whole will unavoidably suffer from the sanctions, as it relies heavily on investment and technology from foreign nations. Resources development in the Arctic Sea and western Siberia will also stagnate.

The administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin is poised to counter the Western penalties by taking such measures as raising the prices of energy shipments to Europe. Its antagonistic stance toward the United States and Europe is expected to grow stronger as well.

Emphasizing cooperation with the United States and Europe, Japan has decided on additional penalties against Russia, including a freeze on assets of individuals and organizations involved in the Ukraine issue and restriction on imports of Crimea-made products. This is a reasonable decision.

The Japanese government is making arrangements for Putin’s visit here this fall, but for the moment Tokyo must give priority to international cooperation in promoting the investigation into the deadly incident.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 1, 2014)


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