- Sputnik International, 1920, 13.01.2022
Russia-NATO Row on European Security
Russia proposed draft agreements on security guarantees for NATO and the US in late 2021 requesting the alliance not to expand eastward as Moscow considers such a move a threat to its national security. NATO insists it will not allow its "Open Door" policy to be slammed shut.

Washington Not Considering 'Preemptive' Sanctions Against Russia Over Ukraine Crisis, Pentagon Says

© AFP 2023 / ALEXANDER NEMENOVA Russian ruble coin is pictured in front of the Kremlin in in central Moscow, on November 6, 2014
A Russian ruble coin is pictured in front of the Kremlin in in central Moscow, on November 6, 2014 - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.02.2022
US lawmakers and think tank eggheads have spent months recommending that Russia be slapped with a financial "preemptive strike" of sanctions over the situation in Ukraine, regardless of whether it "invades" the country or not. Last week, Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Jeanne Shaheen promised such a package of sanctions was almost ready.
The US is not considering "preemptive" sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby has announced.
"If it's a deterrent and you use it before the aggression is made or the transgression is made, then you lose your deterrent effect," Kirby said, speaking to Fox News on Sunday.
"If you punish someone for something they haven't done yet then they might as well just go ahead and do it. So we believe that there is a deterrent effect by keeping them in reserve, and we have been very clear with the international community and with Mr. Putin about the severity of the economic consequences that he could face," the spokesman added.
Pressed to confirm that the US would not impose sanctions in the absence of Russian "aggression," Kirby indicated that "right now we are not considering a preemptive sanction regime."
Kirby's comments echoed those made by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month when the secretary suggested that if new sanctions were "triggered now," the US would "lose the deterrent effect."
Russia has dismissed that any "sanctions deterrent" has any influence on its calculations, and has vocally dismissed months of claims by Western officials and media that it plans to attack Ukraine. Russian officials have expressed concerns that the US is using the invasion fears as a pretext to beef up its military presence in Eastern Europe, and has slammed Washington over alleged collusion with media to ramp up anti-Russian hysteria. At the same time, Moscow has expressed concerns that the US or its allies may be preparing some kind of provocation against the self-proclaimed Donbass republics to reignite the frozen conflict in eastern Ukraine.
American Soldiers are seen during NATO Saber Strike military exercises on June 16, 2017 in Orzysz, Poland.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.02.2022
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Earlier this week, US media reported that Senate negotiations on a so-called "mother of all sanctions" bill against Russia were ongoing, and were running against the clock of a 21 February deadline, when the Senate will go into recess for a week.
Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen recently told a Washington think tank that sanctions aimed at holding Vladimir Putin "accountable" were "very close" to an agreement between Democrat and Republican members of the Foreign Relations Committee. Last month, Republican Senator Joni Ernst urged for new sanctions against Russia "now" to "show strength and not be in a position of a doctrine of appeasement."
Possible preemptive sanctions could include new personal restrictions on senior Kremlin officials and Russian oligarchs, plus "Iran-esque" sanctions on Russia and possibly even an attempt to shut down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline should Moscow go ahead with an invasion of Ukraine (targeting the pipeline is said to be supported by Republicans, but opposed by Democrats). A Senate aide told CBS News on Friday that President Biden could not stop the Senate-proposed sanctions from being implemented if an invasion did take place.
Kremlin, Moscow - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.02.2022
Russia Has Plans to Hedge Risks in Event of New US Economic Sanctions, Kremlin Says
On Friday, US and European Union officials told Reuters that Washington and Brussels were finalizing new restrictions targeting Russian banks, but said that cutting Russia off from the SWIFT interbanking money transfer system was not on the cards thanks to objections from European countries. European countries have expressed concerns that an escalation in Ukraine could disrupt Russian energy supplies flowing to Europe amid already sky-high spot prices and shortages of natural gas in the region.
On Thursday, the UK, which has spearheaded efforts among Washington's European allies to ramp up tensions with Russia, published a comprehensive set of sanctions regulations threatening to target the Russian government, ministries, the Central Bank, strategic sectors of the economy including the chemicals, construction, defence, electronics, energy, extractives, financial services, IT and transport, plus individuals and companies doing business with Russia or deemed to be involved in destabilising Ukraine or undermining its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
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