How the West Marshal made a surprising display of unity against Russia
Europeans were also reluctant about sending lethal weapons to the Ukrainian military, even as they were classified as defensive. Germany and its neighbors have limited themselves to sending protective gear such as helmets or flak jackets for fear of a backlash at home.
But as the war started, his resolve became more strict. The Netherlands joined Germany in offering Ukraine Stinger missiles and other weapons. Last Saturday, the European Union set up a nearly $500 million fund to send weapons to its members. It was the first time the bloc had jointly purchased lethal weapons to arm another country’s military under the EU banner – another Rubicon crossed.
“I can’t remember a time when the goal of Western sanctions was to integrate into the West so economically,” said Tom Keating, a senior researcher at the British Royal United Services Institute, a research group in London. He said punishing Russia has become imperative for world leaders and everyday consumers. “It became, ‘What are you, the man on the street, going to sacrifice for Ukraine?
Countries geographically close to Russia such as Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, as well as the Netherlands – backed by the United States and Canada – pressed for a larger set of sanctions that would actually hurt Mr Putin, according to European talks. Officers involved.
Notably, these countries were under the leadership of Mr. Putin and his foreign minister, Sergei V. Lavrov personally and suspending Russian banks from SWIFT, a sort of financial nuclear option that by that time had become a rallying cry for street protesters. Europe and on social media. But Swift still wasn’t there for the Germans, several officials said.
‘Quantum Leap’ in Financial Punishment
The evening after the invasion began, before dinner on 24 February, when Mr Zelensky’s image flashed on a video screen. European leaders were meeting under the highest level of secrecy, without consultants or electronic equipment. Dressed in a suit and tie, they sat in the comfort of a high-tech conference room in Brussels. Mr. Zelensky appeared in a bunker somewhere in Kyiv, wearing his now famous military-green T-shirt. The contrast was not lost on anyone in the room.
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