Germany promises ‘very tough sanctions’ on Russia
Russia will face serious consequences if it decides to launch a military incursion into Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned on Sunday, ahead of a trip to the US to meet President Joe Biden at the White House.
Speaking to German channel ARD, Scholz said that current Western efforts are aimed at ensuring there is no need to impose economic measures against Russia, but that a range of ideas had been discussed.
“We have very concrete preparations with our allies in the EU and the US. We are in close talks about the possible sanctions that we can take,” Scholz said. “These will be very far-reaching, very tough sanctions, if that becomes necessary. Although, yes, at the moment, our whole effort is to prevent it coming to that.”
When asked if this could include measures on Nord Stream 2, the controversial gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany, Scholz refused to be drawn either way.
“[Sanctions] will have high costs, and that’s why we have looked at all these measures individually. There’s nothing that is ruled out,” he explained. “Of course, Russia can imagine what they may be, but they may actually be much stronger.”
“It is a matter of agreed policy among allies in NATO. It is about the agreed policy with our friends in the USA. And it’s about agreed policy in the EU,” he continued.
Scholz’s comments come as Russia stands accused of placing more than 100,000 troops on the frontier, with some believing that this is a sign of an upcoming military incursion. This claim has repeatedly been denied by the Kremlin, and it has also been played down by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, despite warnings from Washington that an invasion could begin at any time. However, Western nations have continued to threaten Russia with hard-hitting sanctions.
According to the media, measures considered by the EU, US, and UK include restrictions on banks, state-owned businesses, and certain businessmen, as well as sanctions on the export and import of some goods.
On Sunday, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned that an attack could be launched as early as this week.
“We believe that there is a very distinct possibility that Vladimir Putin will order an attack on Ukraine. It could take a number of different forms. It could happen as soon as tomorrow, or it could take some weeks yet,” Sullivan said.