It’s time for the West to show its cards and publish its planned sanctions against Russia, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Wednesday.
At a news conference for foreign media, Kuleba called on the EU and its member countries to finalize the sanctions package and make it public — so that Russian President Vladimir Putin understands the West is not bluffing about how it would respond to a military attack on Ukraine.
“Make it available for the Russians, for everyone, so that the Russians can see what awaits for them,” Kuleba said.
While some details of potential sanctions have been described by officials in background briefings, the EU, U.S. and other Western allies have been reluctant to publicize the full package, preferring to keep Putin guessing about the details and giving them room to adjust their response based on Russia’s military moves.
“We hear discussions about the severity of sanctions, but it’s time to go into specifics,” Kuleba said. “Otherwise Russia may think it’s just about bluffing.”
U.S. and EU officials have said the sanctions would be the toughest ever imposed and would hit the Russian financial services sector particularly hard. Major Russian banks are expected to be targeted by the measures. U.S. officials have also said they will severely restrict technology exports to Russia.
But even as some details of the potential sanctions have emerged, Western allies have struggled to determine when those measures would be triggered. Some diplomats have said there would not be a single answer to that question, because different aspects of the package could be triggered at different times. The one certainty, officials said, is that the full range of sanctions would be applied in the event of an all-out Russian invasion.
At his news conference on Wednesday, Kuleba also urged the EU to “help Ukraine strengthen its defense and in particular its cyber capabilities,” including by sending weapons.
“Every country can choose what’s the most appropriate way to help Ukraine,” he said. “Some may transfer weapons, others can focus on ammunitions, but the most important thing is that everyone demonstrates a political will to strengthen Ukraine’s defense.”