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Measuring the West’s backlash: Initial action and reaction to Russia’s operation

The US, Great Britain and other countries have announced their intention to impose "unprecedented" and "far-reaching" sanctions against Russia

MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. Western countries condemned Russia's actions in support of Donbass on Thursday and called for an end to the military operation on Ukrainian soil.

The United States, Great Britain and other countries have announced their intention to impose "unprecedented" and "far-reaching" sanctions against Russia, vowing "massive and severe consequences" for Moscow. The EU is going to weaken "Russia's economic base and the country's capacity to modernize."

Events in Donbass

The Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics appealed to Russia to help repel the aggression of Ukraine. Early on February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years."

According to Putin, the United States and its allies do not change their position on the principles of ensuring security in Europe and non-expansion of NATO, despite numerous attempts by Russia to negotiate. At the same time, the West uses Kiev against Moscow. Russia, as the president said, will strive for "demilitarization and denazification" of Ukraine, but does not plan to occupy Ukrainian territories.

When clarifying the developments unfolding, the Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.

Far-reaching Western sanctions

US President Joe Biden in a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky condemned the Russian operation. Washington and its allies intend to impose tough sanctions against Russia on Thursday, February 24.

The UK government, together with its allies, "agreed that, should a further Russian incursion into Ukraine happen, allies must enact swift retributive responses including an unprecedented package of sanctions," against Russia due to the operation in Ukraine in order to "punish for the appalling decision."

The European Union also promised "massive and severe consequences for Russia." The EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, clarified that this is the toughest package of sanctions in the history of the alliance, it will affect the strategic sectors of the Russian economy, access to key technologies and markets. "We will weaken Russia's economic base and its capacity to modernize," said the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. The EU will also freeze Russian assets in the community and stop Russian banks' access to the European financial markets.

Australia has already announced the second package of anti-Russian sanctions. The country’s blacklist will include 25 Russians. Sanctions will be announced against army commanders, deputy defense ministers and Russian mercenaries who are allegedly "responsible for unprovoked aggression against Ukraine," as well as against four organizations engaged in the "development and sale of military technologies and weapons." The Australian government is working on another package against members of the Russian parliament.

Poland and Romania have asked NATO to use the 4th Article of the alliance’s treaty, which convenes the Council for consultations when one of the participating countries reports a threat to its security. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the operation a "reckless attack" and promised to discuss within the alliance the "consequences" of Russia's actions with the support of Ukraine.