As West tightens screws on Moscow, CEE countries hunker downReading Time: 2 minutes
On early Friday, Al Jazeera reported that Russian forces had sent missiles into Kyiv and other locations in Ukraine. Stating that Putin “must and will fail”, the European Union has agreed severe sanctions on Russia. Namely, this means the EU will freeze Russian assets within the Union. Also, Russian banks’ access to funding will be curtailed, with 70% of the Russian banking market targeted.
Ukraine’s government reported that 137 civilians and soldiers had been killed so far in the fighting, while US intelligence sources said that Russian troops were creeping closer to Kyiv.
On Thursday night, US President Joe Biden outlined new US sanctions designed to isolate Russia from the global economy. That means, according to Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett, that “Any assets that Russia currently holds in the United States are now frozen.”
Also last night, the US Congress said it would provide Ukraine USD 600 million in “lethal defence weapons”.
A tense mood reigns over the rest of Central and Eastern Europe, where leaders are reinforcing their defences and weighing in on where they stand. On Thursday, Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda declared a state of emergency, unanimously approved by the country’s parliament, according to Euractiv. Nauseda’s decree, which seeks to block hybrid attacks against Lithuania, involving heightened border checks, writes “I declare that a state of emergency is introduced because of the Russian Federation’s actions that threaten Lithuania’s primary security interests.”
Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis stated that, other than possibly providing humanitarian aid, Romania, intends to stay out of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. ”Romania benefits from the widest possible security guarantees,” he said, mentioning its close contact with its EU and NATO allies. “Its membership of both NATO and the European Union and the strong Strategic Partnership with the United States form an extremely solid security umbrella.”
On Thursday night, Hungary’s joint opposition parties demonstrated in front of Russia’s embassy in Budapest, with their candidate for prime minister, Peter Marki-Zay urging Prime Minister Viktor Orban to quit sitting on the fence when it comes to Hungary’s stance on Russia’s attack against Ukraine. “The West is our ally, and we are members of NATO and the European Union,” Marki-Zay told those in attendance.
Source: Al Jazeera, Euractiv, Euractiv, Budapest Times