Ukraine War, June 30, 2022: On the road to appeasement–The EU wavers on sanctions against Russia in the case of Kaliningrad

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UKRAINE: THE WAR TO SAVE THE U.N. CHARTER AND INTERNATIONAL LAW

To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.

Dispatches

1) Bojan Pancevski, Laurence Norman, and Drew Hinshaw, “Europe Moves to Defuse Tension With Moscow Over Russian Exclave Kaliningrad; Lithuania has said it was implementing EU sanctions on Russia by blocking train deliveries of steel and iron transiting through the bloc’s territory,” Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2022 (8:24 am ET);

2) Stephen Wertheim, “The One Key Word Biden Needs to Invoke on Ukraine; He should call it a fight not for democracy but for sovereignty,” The Atlantic, June 11, 2022;

3) Ralf Neukirch und Jan Petter, “Russland darf wieder nach Kaliningrad liefern – so sieht der Deal aus; Die EU-Kommission will den umstrittenen Transit in die russische Exklave Kaliningrad klären und kommt dem Kreml entgegen. Litauen fühlt sich als Verlierer des Konflikts,”
Von
30.06.2022, 22.04 Uhr

Analysis

Pancevski, Norman, and Hinshaw report:

On Thursday, the European Commission said it was in close contact with Lithuania and other member states and working on additional guidelines on applying EU sanctions…

EU officials have repeatedly said the restrictions on the transit of goods to Kaliningrad should be proportionate…

According to EU diplomats, Germany and France were among the countries pushing for the Commission to set out guidelines relaxing restrictions.

“This is an extremely dangerous situation,” a senior European official said.

Germany stations troops in Lithuania as part of a NATO mission to deter a Russian invasion. Kaliningrad is home to Russia’s Baltic fleet. NATO officials say that Russia keeps nuclear weapons in the enclave.

Lithuanian officials say sanctions need to be effectively enforced and that any guidance applying to how Vilnius applies the restrictions on goods going to Kaliningrad shouldn’t single out Lithuania and must apply to all EU countries bordering the exclave.

What does it mean to say that “the restrictions on the transit of goods to Kaliningrad should be proportionate”?

Proportionate to what?

Proportionate to the massacre of tens of thousands of civilians in Ukraine? To the total destruction of Mariupol?

Or to the fears of German and French leaders of the consequences of standing up to Putin?

Putin will not be stopped until the West–The EU, NATO, and other allies of Ukraine–stand up to him with steely resolve and determination to not only go through the motions of applying sanctions, but to actually stop the Russian slaughter if Ukrainian civilians and the withdrawal of Russian forces from the country.

Nor should we forget that the killing of Ukrainian soldiers in an illegal war of aggression constitutes, in moral terms, the murder of thousands of innocent individuals who are acting legitimately in exercise of the inherent right of self-defense of their homeland.

The European Union can’t have it both ways. It can’t impose sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, on the one hand, and then weaken those sanctions in response to an implicit threat of invasion of Lithuania, on the other.

Temporizing in the face of Russian threats of military invasion ignores all that we have learned about how Vladimir Putin responds to weakness, and about how appeasement of aggressive dictators like Hitler and Putin is based on an illusion and is ultimately self-defeating.

The Trenchant Observer

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See also,

Only force can stop Putin

“Ukraine War, April 5, 2022 (II): Force must be used to stop Putin,” The Trenchant Observer, April 5, 2922 .

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