The United States and its allies will increase pressure on Russia after annexation


On the eve of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intention to formally annex four Ukrainian regions, the United States and its allies have finalized their response plans with measures to dramatically increase military, diplomatic and economy which they believe will end up locking Putin in an intolerable situation.

New sanctions are to be announced against entities inside Russia and those outside that contribute to its war effort, according to US and European officials. Long-term commitments are made to ensure the continued flow of Western weapons to Ukraine. Infidel nations are cajoled and pressured to take a stand against Moscow.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Thursday that “the United States does not and will never recognize the legitimacy or outcome of these sham referendums or Russia’s purported annexation of Ukrainian territory.”

No one seems to believe that such statements will immediately deter Putin, and none of the planned sanctions will impose an immediate cost.

But in the past 10 days – since Russia quickly held referendums in Ukrainian territories its military forces partially occupy, received the overwhelming popular approval expected in votes held this week and scheduled a signing ceremony of Putin for Friday – Allied governments tried to match Moscow’s speed.

In Zaporizhzhia, Russia controlled a referendum but not hearts or minds

At the United Nations last week, President Biden rewrote parts of his speech to the General Assembly at the last minute to organize the just-announced referendums, and a veiled threat from Putin to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, a centerpiece, a senior administration official said. In a message to nations who saw the “democracy versus autocracy” rhetoric that had characterized debates over Ukraine as far from their own concerns, it was seen as an issue that would touch closer to home for many.

It was “no secret” that the United States “is committed to defending and strengthening democracy,” Biden said. But Russia’s attempt to seize another country by force and unilaterally change its borders was a violation of the United Nations Charter which “was negotiated between citizens of dozens of nations with different histories and ideologies very different” and designed to protect them all.

“No matter what we may disagree on,” he said, “that’s the common ground we have to stand on.” To sweeten the pot, Biden then said he supported efforts to expand the UN’s power base on the Security Council – dominated by the victors of World War II who created the institution – to include the southern nations.

Several US and EU officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue, said there was evidence the argument had some resonance. Large countries like China and India have recently raised questions about Putin’s handling of the situation, as have some smaller countries.

“With Russia announcing that it would simply annex territory and make that part of Russia, also covered by a nuclear umbrella – it’s so monumental, so outrageous, that it catapulted the principle of territorial integrity,” said a senior European official. “These countries cannot stay on the sidelines, cannot stay on the fence, about a crucial principle of international law that could in fact be used against them. Something has changed” in their calculation, the official said.

“I think…a lot of countries that have tried to keep their heads down and not weigh in are going to have a very hard time swallowing annexation,” a senior US defense official said.

Russians rebel as Putin enlists more in battle for Ukraine

Proof of this argument could come from a possible vote on Friday on a UN Security Council resolution introduced by the United States and condemning the annexations. “We expect Russia to do what Russia always does – it will veto it,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in announcing the resolution this week. “We expect to have strong support for this.”

Western allies will closely watch countries like the United Arab Emirates, Gabon and India, which have abstained in previous moves criticizing Russian actions in Ukraine. If they are disappointed with the votes of these countries or others, “then we will move it to the General Assembly, if necessary, as we have done in the past”. The last vote of the General Assembly on the Russian invasion, in March, collected 35 abstentions.

“I think you can anticipate, if Putin goes ahead with this plan, and I think we assume he will, that there will be significant political and economic consequences, in addition to security issues.” , the US defense official said. “And then, by the way, we’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. That is, there will be more security assistance packages.

Allies are eager to demonstrate to Putin that he hopes the West will lose enthusiasm for war – as attention is drawn to other issues as it continues to drain allies of money and resources. ‘weapons, and in the medium term, when the next Winter tensions European energy supplies — will not be met.

Earlier this month, at a meeting of the contact group of more than 40 Ukrainian countries created to encourage and coordinate donations and delivery of arms to Ukraine, emphasis was placed on keeping power and commitment to building what the defense official called Ukraine’s “2023”. [military] Obligate.”

A pending Pentagon announcement of $1.1 billion in additional long-term US military aid was postponed until Wednesday, to demonstrate US resilience ahead of Putin’s next annexation. The package included 18 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, launchers. The 16 HIMARS already dispatched are credited with playing an important role in the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian artillery battle for the east and southeast of the country, where Russian forces are entrenched.

Unlike previous shipments that came from existing US inventory, the new systems have yet to be manufactured and will likely take years to arrive. The aid package, bringing total U.S. military aid to $16.2 billion since the war began in February, also includes 150 Humvees, 150 vehicles to tow artillery, radar, counter- drones and bulletproof vests.

Funding for the new HIMARS and much of the planned future aid, as existing U.S. stocks dwindle, come from Ukraine’s Supplementary Appropriations Act (USAI), a multibillion-dollar fund the administration hopes which Congress will replenish in the pending continuing resolution for the remainder of this year. The Senate passed the interim measure on Thursday, and it is now moving through the House.

“Right now we’re basically announcing about a billion dollars worth of [drawdown], and $1 billion from USAI every month,” the defense official said. “It goes up and it goes down, but that’s the order of magnitude. And if Congress provides the money we’ve asked for — and I’m optimistic they will — we’ll be able to sustain that rate through the end of this calendar year, until we have a budget. official.

The European Union took the lead on Wednesday when it announced a new draft of its eighth sanctions law, including proposing a price cap on the global purchase of Russian oil. The measures, which will be discussed at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Friday, include new export bans on Russia’s purchase of European appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers, which officials say the Russian military is using to mine chips banned by previous sanctions. Other proposed new import bans include the European purchase of an expanded range of Russian products.

“Russia has stepped up the invasion of Ukraine to a new level” with referendums and annexation, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyden told a news conference. “And we are determined to make the Kremlin pay the price for this further escalation.” The new sanctions, she said, would be “biting”.

US officials declined to specify what additional sanctions they plan to announce on Friday.

War in Ukraine: what you need to know

The last: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in an address to the nation on September 21, describing the move as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West that seeks to use Ukraine as a tool to ” divide and destroy Russia”. .” Follow our live updates here.

The fight: A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive has forced a major Russian retreat into the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops fled towns and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large quantities of military equipment.

Annexation referendums: Organized referendums, which would be illegal under international law, are set to take place September 23-27 in the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies. Another organized referendum will be organized by the Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson from Friday.

Pictures: Washington Post photographers have been in the field since the start of the war. Here are some of their most powerful works.

How you can help: Here’s how those in the United States can help support the people of Ukraine as well as what people around the world have donated.

Read our full coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive video.


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