Ukraine Conflict

Putting Business Before Peace in Ukraine, Europe Takes a Soft Line With Russia

People lay coffins containing some of the remains of Malaysia Airlines MH17 victims on the tarmac at Kharkiv airport
Coffins of victims of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 being loaded onto a Dutch transport plane in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on July 23, 2014.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Threats haven’t worked as Russia escalates the crisis in eastern Ukraine, and economic sanctions are a sharp weapon that Europeans must use.

  • Facts


    • France has plans to sell helicopter carrier warships to Russia.
    • Many E.U. countries depend on Russia for energy supplies.
    • 298 passengers and crew were aboard Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.
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Until now, Europe did well by gently tightening the punitive screws on Russia. Economic sanctions are not something that politicians should treat lightly. All the same, you couldn’t help feeling that Moscow was playing a game of cat and mouse with the West in eastern Ukraine.

For nearly four months, the European Union has backed away from imposing far-reaching economic sanctions against Russia out of fear for economic consequences. E.U. leaders did the same again on Tuesday, reaching no conclusion on harder penalties against Russia.


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