Tag Archives: Ukraine crisis

More sanctions, pain for Russia

President Obama is tightening the economic vise around Russia, along with Europe.

It’s time. Perhaps it’s past time. Whatever the case, the Russians need to be punished for their adventurism in the affairs of a sovereign and supposedly independent nation.

We’re talking about Ukraine.


The president’s announcement comes in conjunction with the European Union’s declaration of even tighter and tougher measures taken against Russia, which has been interfering militarily in Ukraine’s internal political struggle.

As Politico reported: “Stepping up the West’s showdown with Russia , European leaders Tuesday declared plans to impose sanctions against state-owned Russian banks, as well as certain types of oil-industry equipment and so-called dual-use technology capable of use by the military. The U.S. added three banks to its sanctions list, resulting in five of Russia’s six top banks subject to sharp limits on refinancing of debt.”

The Russians have been implicated in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, killing nearly 300 innocent civilians flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. The flight had the tragic misfortune of flying over Ukrainian airspace, where it was shot down by Ukrainian separatists aligned with Russia — which reportedly provided the weaponry to shoot down MH 17.

Russia is engaging in a disgraceful interference that cannot be allowed to stand.

No one should be foolish enough to want to launch a ground war against the Russian military. The economic sanctions, though, should be made to stick and should be applied with maximum pressure to cause equally maximum pain on an economy that’s already suffering.

Obama is right to dismiss contentions that the United States and Russia have entered a “new cold war.” The war we’re talking about is burning quite hot. Russia needs to stand down and let the Ukrainians decide their own fate.

Putin is bathed in blood

Vladimir Putin did not order the missile launch that struck down a commercial jetliner and killed nearly 300 passengers and crew.

However, the Russian president must be held accountable for this unspeakable act of terror done by rebels fighting in his name.


The Seattle Times editorial lays it out in stark terms.

Putin has been emboldened by a lack of worldwide resolve in Ukraine’s fight with Russia. Now this fight has been expanded far beyond the region that has been at war with itself. The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 has made this a truly international conflict.

I will include President Obama in this litany of lameness. The president has been curiously reticent in his remarks about the shootdown of the airliner. He needs to lay the responsibility squarely at the feet of the macho man, Putin.

As word is trickling out, it appears that the rebels fighting the Ukrainian government thought they were firing at a Ukrainian transport plane. Only when they got to the wreckage and discovered it belonged to a commercial Boeing 777 did they realize their mistake.

That excuses nothing.

The Russians have been arming the rebels who are fighting to separate from Ukraine and attach part of that country to Russia. As the Seattle Times noted: “Russia inspired and armed the rebel soldiers in Eastern Ukraine who have sustained a separatist movement that has only grown more desperate. Suddenly, this presumably ragtag collection had the military might to bring down a civilian airliner from 33,000 feet.”

As the Times noted, Europe has to step up: “Europe can do better than be intimidated by the possible loss of Russia’s gas supplies. Look what the revenues are paying for, and look at the leader they sustain.”

It’s also time for the United States to step up as well.

Ukraine crisis goes global

Suddenly and with maximum shock and grief, the struggle between Ukraine and Russia has become far more than just a regional conflict.

It’s gone global.

The apparent shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine jacks up the ante in this struggle to a level that cannot yet be calculated.


More than 300 innocent victims are dead reportedly from a missile strike launched by pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists who want their country to rejoin their giant neighbor to the east.

What is the world to do about this?

Well, President Obama is considering even tighter economic sanction against Russia, given reports that Moscow might have had a hand in supplying the weaponry used to down MH 17.

My own belief is that we mustn’t keep issuing “targeted” sanctions, if that’s the course we’re going to take. We ought to start freezing some serious assets, slap embargoes on Russia or perhaps remove large numbers of embassy and consulate personnel.

Should we sever diplomatic relations? No. The plane did carry a single American passenger but that’s not enough of a reason to end our diplomatic relations with Russia.

But someone in Moscow needs to be held accountable for what happened. What on God’s Earth possesses even the most fervent militants to do this, if that indeed is what happened?

It appears we’ve got an increasingly global fight on our hands. It’s not a cause for us to become militarily, but there ought to be some economic hell to pay for this heinous act of terror.

U.S.-Russia dispute gets even more tense

If you thought the U.S.-Russia tensions couldn’t worsen short of an actual shooting war between the nations, well, you thought wrong.

They just did on the basis of what appears to be the deliberate downing of a commercial airline carrying more than 300 passengers and crew, including one American.


A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 has been shot down in eastern Ukraine, allegedly by separatists allied with Russia, which seems to want to re-annex the former Soviet republic.

President Obama has condemned the Russians for supporting the separatists and it is now believed he is considering even more sanctions against Russia.

Of course, critics will contend the president should have prevented the shoot-down. For now, I’ll settle for encouraging the administration — and I would implore Congress to back Obama on this one — to tighten the screws even more against Russia.

The Russians are playing a dangerous game with their support of these separatists — who now have demonstrated that they will go to any lengths to make some political point.

Someone will have to explain to me, though, what on Earth was to be gained by shooting down a commercial jetliner with innocent and unsuspecting civilians aboard.

Russia pulls back

It turns out Russia is backing away from its border with Ukraine.

The Russians have pulled back all but 2,000 of the 40,000 or so troops it had massed on its Ukraine border after the Ukrainians elected Petro Poroshenko as their next president.

The Russians said they would respect the Ukrainians’ vote.

Gosh, that’s big of ’em, don’t you think?


I’ve been cautiously optimistic that the Russians might come to their senses and avoid invading Ukraine if the vote didn’t go the way the Russians wanted. Many critics of U.S. and European Union policy toward this crisis have suggested the Russians weren’t cowed at all by economic sanctions imposed because of their interference with Ukraine’s sovereign affairs.

I am believing the sanctions have brought enough pain to the Russians that they are thinking twice about their previous intentions to muscle their way into Ukrainian domestic politics.

It’s hardly time to lift the sanctions, even though the Russians are pulling troops and heavy arms away from Ukraine. I trust the United States will continue to take a dim view of Russians’ bullying.

Have the Russians possibly blinked in the face of pressure? It’s quite possible. Their Soviet forebears did it during the Cuban Missile Crisis, remember?