The Kremlin said on Thursday that imposing US sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin in the event of Russia’s attack on Ukraine would be “overstepping the border”, a day after Democratic members of the US Senate presented a bill providing for this.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that imposing “sanctions on a head of state would be an extraterritorial measure, tantamount to severing ties” between the two countries.
He pointed out that the proposal of the law of Democratic members of the US Senate “does not facilitate the establishment of a constructive atmosphere for the talks” taking place between Russia and Western powers, adding that it is “an attempt to put pressure on Russia .. and it is meaningless.”
A Kremlin spokesman said yesterday’s talks between Russia and the West were “not successful.” He stressed that Moscow expects to reach a specific written agreement soon, after two rounds of Russian-US talks, adding: “There is a difference on the main issues between Russia and the United States, and this is a bad thing, and it can be considered one of the negative aspects of the two rounds of negotiations.”
The US-Russian talks were held in Geneva on January 10
On possible sanctions against the “North Stream 2” gas pipeline, Peskov said: “It is a commercial project, and it is wrong to link it to security.”
A spokesman for the Russian presidency called on the West to “listen to Russia and not talk about sanctions,” adding: “It is time to take our concerns into account.”
He also stressed that “NATO cannot give us instructions on where to deploy Russian forces,” referring to the Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s borders and Western fears of it.
Poland: Attempts to Divide Europe
Peskov’s comments came at a time when the meetings of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were launched in Vienna today under the presidency of Poland.
“We are facing escalation and military build-up in Eastern Europe and attempts to divide Europe into spheres of influence,” Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said in his speech at the opening of the meetings.
Ukrainian soldiers on the border with Russia
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland called for “the settlement of the conflict within Ukraine and its borders by peaceful means,” and called on “the parties to the conflict in Eastern Europe to abide by the provisions of the Treaty of Helsinki.”
For his part, Helga Schmidt, Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said: “There is an urgent need to revitalize the debate on European security.”
Schmidt called for “reducing the escalation in Eastern Europe and activating cooperation and transparency among member states” of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which includes 57 countries.
For his part, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, considered Thursday that the movements of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine are “part of the pressure” exerted by Moscow to obtain its demands, but “it is out of the question to negotiate under pressure” on Ukraine.