A former British ambassador to Russia warns that Western sanctions are unlikely to convince Vladimir Putin to withdraw from Ukraine.
Anthony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Russia between 2004 and 2008, notes that previous sanctions over more than six years have proven relatively ineffective.
“If you’re in the Kremlin, you go to Putin and say, ‘Sir, Mr President, we’re going to suffer economic damage because of what the West is up to. We would have to give up some vital security interests in order to limit the damage, then you spend the rest of your career counting paperclips in Siberia,” he told the ABC’s RN Breakfast.
“This is a regime that cares much more about national security than economic prosperity.
“The new set of penalties is going to be much tougher. But they will respond with similar resistance (from Russia). »
He expects Russia to be helped by stronger economic ties with China, using it to redirect gas exports from Europe, as part of the two countries’ recent ‘no limits’ deal to support each other against Western pressure.
Brenton also denies former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s warning that Russia may seek to invade Poland and the Baltic states if it succeeds in Ukraine, creating a new Iron Curtin, as “nonsense”.
“The problem with Ukraine is that it is not a member of NATO and, indeed, it has been very close … historically to Russia,” Brenton said.
“Poland, the Baltic States are members of NATO. If Russia were tempted to invade them, she would find herself fighting all of NATO.
“NATO has a defense budget, taken in total, about 10 times that of Russia; Russia would lose. There is no way the Russians will attack Poland or anyone else who is already in NATO.