“At these three summits, we will see who is a friend, who is a partner, and who has betrayed us for money” (Zelensky)

“At these three summits, we will see who is the friend, who is the partner, and who has betrayed us for money”: Ahead of Thursday’s three summits, NATO, G7 and EU this Thursday night where he Participating via videoconference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Western countries to increase not only their support for Ukraine but also sanctions against Russia to force Vladimir Putin to stop fighting. In the presence of Joe Biden, but also Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, the West discussed what they could do to strengthen their military, financial and humanitarian support and what they refused to do, starting with producing troops in Ukraine, since the head of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, recalled before the start of the summit that “there are no NATO troops on the ground in Ukraine, or planes in the sky”. However, according to Joseph Borrell, the head of European diplomacy, “everyone will decide in the next two weeks”.

At the time of publishing these lines, Volodymyr Zelensky had not yet spoken about the day of this marathon. But it is highly likely that it will not meet his expectations as long as he seeks military assistance and more substantial sanctions against Moscow. The European Union remains divided on whether to cut off all its energy ties with Russia, on which Germany continues to oppose an immediate embargo on hydrocarbons delivered by Moscow on which it closely relies.

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Penalties

However, the United States has announced new financial sanctions against Russia’s political world but also against oligarchs and companies in the defense industry. These measures, which include specifically the freezing of assets in the United States, involve 328 Duma representatives as well as 48 “large public companies” in the defense sector, such as Tactical Missiles Corporation JSC (KTRV), a state-owned conglomerate whose armament is currently deployed in Russia. Western countries have also decided to penalize all transactions involving Russia’s gold reserves. Purpose: to prevent Moscow from avoiding the financial separation measures they have taken within a month, as the White House indicated in a statement. A bill Boris Johnson asked to be introduced earlier in the day, arguing that “The more pressure we put now, especially on things like gold, the more I think we can shorten the war, shorten the massacre in Ukraine”.

Read also 7 minBoris Johnson calls for targeting Russia’s gold reserves ‘to shorten war’ with Ukraine

He is “it is clear that any transaction involving gold in relation to Russia’s central bank is subject to existing sanctions”, said the US executive. A senior US official explained: “We want to close any possibility for Russia to use its gold to support its currency”, the rubles.

He pointed out, in a press exchange, that Moscow had gold stocks “important”. According to the World Gold Council, gold reserves stored in the vaults of the Russian Central Bank amount to 2,361.64 tonnes. This is the fifth highest volume behind the United States, Germany, France and Italy. It will also represent 20% of the total foreign exchange reserves of the Russian Central Bank.

Read also 6 minGold, this war chest accumulated by Moscow that allows Russia to support the invasion of Ukraine

The leaders of the G7 countries and the European Union also want to continue to prevent Russia’s central bank from using international reserves, including gold, to block war financing. “By cutting dozens of Russian defense companies from the U.S. financial system, today’s action will have a profound and lasting impact on Russia’s defense industry”said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Earlier today, the British government also announced new sanctions against 59 Russian personalities and companies and six Belarusian entities. On the business side, there is, for example, the Russian diamond giant Alrosa, the private military service group Wagner, or the hydroelectric power station Rushydro. Among the personalities targeted were Guerman Gref, boss of the first Russian bank Sberbank and “Advisor to Putin since the 1990s”, according to the White House. Billionaire Gennady Timchenko, his companies Volga Group and Transoil, as well as members of his family, were also affected, and his yacht, the Lena, was intercepted. 17 members of the board of directors of the Sovcombank bank were also approved.

Oligarch Roman Abramovich, on the other hand, will not appear on this new list. The Chelsea football club owner is being targeted by sanctions from the European Union and the United Kingdom. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly asked Joe Biden not to punish him, according to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, believing he could play a role in peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

Fear of using chemical, biological and nuclear weapons

Other steps may appear. The G7 countries have actually said they are ready to take “new sanctions if necessary”. Especially in the event of a military rise.

“We warn against any threat of the use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons or related material”, the G7 countries added in a joint statement, recalling “Russia’s obligations under international agreements where it signs and protects us all ”. Joe Biden even promised a “response” from NATO if Russia uses chemical weapons.

Statements that came as Volodimir Zelensky on Thursday accused Russia of using phosphorus bombs during its military operations in Ukraine.

The decisions of the West annoyed Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry said their decisions to provide arms to Ukraine encouraged the latter to use force against territories controlled by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the agency reported.

The West is now reaping a “terrible harvest”, the ministry added, stressing that the promise ofNATO to continue to support the “Kyiv regime” showed in his eyes that the Alliance wants to continue the fighting in Ukraine.

On the military side, NATO has announced that it will provide Ukraine with protective equipment against chemical, biological and nuclear attacks and protect forces deployed on the eastern side against these threats. Washington and its allies have also begun discussing the delivery of anti-ship missiles that could help Ukraine loosen Russia’s grip on Black Sea ports.

“We have decided to intensify work to avoid escalation scenarios (and to) continue to provide weapons, defensive and lethal but with a red line that continues not to fight,” summed up French President Emmanuel Macron in a press conference.

NATO leaders also approved the creation of four new combat groups in Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Slovakia, and the strengthening of the four already formed in Poland and the three Baltic countries. More than 100,000 American soldiers are currently present in Europe and more than 40,000 soldiers are under direct NATO command in the eastern part of Europe.

Pressures in China

Finally, Westerners sent messages to Beijing. “China can only be a‘ power of mediation and moderation ’in the Ukraine dispute triggered by Russia, given its status on the international scene and its denial of any attack on the territorial sovereignty of the States, it said. by Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

At a press conference in Brussels held in front of the European Council, the President of France said he heard Xi Jinping, in his recent meeting with his Chinese counterpart, “a leader who shared our concerns and disagreed in war “.

“China, as a member of the United Nations Security Council and as a great power, can do nothing but be a mediator and moderating power and help us convince Russia to stop this war., Never helped or participated in anything. , ever, and ensure that all powers return to sanity and stability, ”he said, while China did not condemn the aggression on China. Ukraine of Russia.

US President Joe Biden on Thursday expressed “hope” that China will not help Russia curb the impact of Western sanctions, saying the future of the Asian giant’s economy is “more dependent on the West” than its Russian neighbor.

‘I think China understands that its future economy depends more on its relationship with the West than Russia. And I hope it won’t engage ‘to help Moscow ease the sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine,’ Mr Biden said on the sideline of several summits in Brussels.

Emmanuel Macron also proposed an emergency plan for food security, in agreement with the G7, to respond to the risks of “famine” in many countries that the war in Ukraine could pose. The French president called on Moscow to be “responsible” by allowing the sowing to take place in Ukraine, otherwise it would lead to war within 12 to 18 months “an inevitable famine”, with a particular risk of cereal shortages in Egypt and the North. Africa.