The conflict in Russia is heating up. Russia is getting more belligerent. The west is imposing additional sanctions to impose a cost on Russia. Pushed into a corner, and isolated – Russia is becoming more belligerent. On Sunday, president Putin ordered the country’s strategic nuclear forces to be put on high alert.
While raising fears of the conflict escalating into a nuclear war, the Russian side blamed the West for the escalation. Russia attributed its actions on the what it viewed as unjustified and unnecessary sanctions. It also blamed the NATO for the aggressive statements it was issuing. The NATO stated in a letter that what Russia had launched was a full-scale invasion. According to NATO the invasion by Russia had also caused several civilian casualties. It is felt that the actual casualties on ground may be such higher than what is being reported in the press.
Economic sanctions imposed by the west seem to be the principal reason precipitating Russian reactions. The EU, late last week, decided to block select Russian banks from the SWIFT network. This is expected to cause major inconvenience. It blocks out Russia from being able to access the international banking network. While blocking access to SWIFT the EU also re-iterated its support for Ukraine in its actions to defend itself.
The EU also plans to shortly move to deny Russia access to its foreign reserves. They plan to do this by blocking Russia’s Central Bank. Russia has foreign reserves amounting to $640 billion. A major portion of this is held in overseas banks located in G7 countries.
Following the outbreak of the conflict, Finland and Sweden said that they might consider joining the NATO bloc. This angered Russia further. Russia said that in that case it would launch attacks against them too.
In good news among all the gloom, the Ukrainian president has agreed to meet Russia for talks. The talks are likely to be held in Belarus.