Russian President Putin recognized the independence of two separatist regions in Eastern Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk, a day before it launched a full-scale attack of Ukraine on February 24th. Putin’s move is exacerbating the tensions with the West.
In response, the US imposed new economic sanctions targeting Russia’s sovereign debt and two large Russian financial institutions. It means Russia can no longer raise money. The European Union, the UK, and Japan also joined the US-led sanctions, including freezing the assets of some Russian elites as well as restricting travels of Russian politicians.
Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is also being used as a weapon against Russia. Germany has halted the approval process of it. Without certification, the $11 billion pipeline running from Siberia to Germany cannot go into operation. Since Russia accounts for more than 42% of EU gas imports, gas price soared following Germany’s decision.