With the US and NATO having made clear that they will not meet a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine with a military response, economic sanctions are viewed by many as a possible means of deterring Moscow. Some of the options most frequently discussed include shutting out Russia from the Swift payment system, halting the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, or imposing sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. However, Western sanctions since the Euromaidan revolution have failed to prevent Russia from pursuing an increasingly assertive foreign policy, suggesting limits to the extent that economic statecraft can impede a great power from pursuing what it perceives as its core interests. It has been suggested that the only sanctions likely to stop a Russian incursion into Ukraine would cause economic pain for the US and Europe as well.
What sort of EU sanctions are most likely to be effective? How truly important is transatlantic unity in the current context? And does economic statecraft in this crisis and beyond present a valid means upon which to build a ‘geopolitical’ EU?