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Current sanctions announced by US won’t affect Putin at all: Estonia’s former prez, World News

Toomas Hendrik, an ex-Estonian president, believes the current round economic sanctions announced in the Biden administration will have little or no impact on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ilves spoke exclusively to WION Wednesday and stated that the current sanctions are pointless as they are directed at the common people of DNR, Donetsk, and LNR, Lugansk. The real sanctions that will bite would affect the oligarchs, and the people in authority.

“The entire Russian leadership keeps huge amounts of money in the West. Why is that money there? Because they don’t even trust their country’s rule of law, “he added.

He said that sanctions could only be effective if directed at the elite who are responsible for the current situation.

He added, “All their holdings in West should be frozen as soon as possible.”

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced new economic sanctions in response to Putin’s recognising two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine—Donetsk and Lugansk—as “independent”.

He signed an executive to “prohibit new investments, trade and financing of US persons to or from the so-called DNR & LNR regions in Ukraine,” a shorthand for Donetsk & Lugansk.

Many countries in the region remain silent, despite warnings from the US and a few European countries about the possibility of additional sanctions in the event that Ukraine invades.

Italy and Germany are yet to indicate what type of action they would take in this scenario.

Ilves claims that even though Germany has frozen a new gas pipeline it shares with Russia, Berlin has not taken any action that could cause harm to the Russian elites.

“So far, Italy and Germany have said no sanctions on energy or on cutting off SWIFT (a messaging network used by banks and other financial institutions to quickly, accurately, and securely send and receive information, such as money transfer instructions). The issue here is whether Italy and Germany have the courage to issue sanctions on the oligarchs and the leadership that have property in their territory. He stated that he believes there will be a lot more discussion about these issues within the EU in the next few days.

When he was asked whether the aim to expand NATO by allowing Ukraine to join the alliance led to the current escalation, the former president said, “This is a complete canard.”

“NATO does not want to expand. It is not clear if NATO is willing to accept new members. And why would these countries want NATO to join? NATO does not have a desire to expand. It will expand only when countries meet its requirements. He cited the example of free elections and the upholding of democratic principles as examples.

Russia’s Putin highlighted the need to revive the law of “Soviet glory” during his recent speech. When asked if Estonia would consider joining Soviet Union he replied that it would be “if we were in Ukraine’s position, which is not within the EU or NATO.”

The difference is that, in the 1990s we undertook difficult and often painful reforms that allowed our accession to NATO and the EU. We feel threatened, but once you’re part of NATO, you feel more secure.

Watch: Estonia’s Ex-President talks to WION: How will Putin’s moves in Ukraine impact European security?| Estonia’s Ex-President speaks to WION: How will Putin’s moves in Ukraine affect European security?

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