Europe must do everything to save Ukraine –

A group of ten European economists have signed a joint appeal urging European leaders to impose new sanctions on Russia and restrict Moscow’s actions in Ukraine without resorting to military means.

The full list of signatories is available at the bottom of this article.

Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine must be stopped. It is a threat to the world order and to Western civilization, to which Ukraine wants to belong. We therefore call for new sanctions against Russia to contain Moscow without resorting to military means.

There is growing evidence that the Russian military is committing war crimes with deadly attacks on densely populated areas and the use of cluster bombs and so-called vacuum bombs. The US Embassy in Kyiv also said Russia committed a war crime by bombing Europe’s largest nuclear power plant and pushing Vladimir Putin’s reign of terror one step further.

And although NATO is not involved in the conflict, the war with Ukraine may not be the last one started by Putin.

Relations between the West and Russia have deteriorated for years. In 2007, when Putin gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference, his message was clear. It can be summed up as follows: “Our attempt to be nice is over; now we will fight in our corner. Indeed, that is what Putin continued to do in subsequent years.

In light of this, it’s no surprise that Vladimir Putin isn’t interested in a better relationship with the West. While he is not indifferent to sanctions, he is clearly not interested in following the playbook of peaceful global politics based on trust. A few days ago, Putin declared that the current Western sanctions were “equivalent to a declaration of war”.

Is there hope for a reset between Russia and the West? Yes, but only if we do “whatever it takes” – as Mario Draghi said during the Eurozone debt crisis. Paradoxically, we are at a similar, but more disturbing moment in history. Yesterday and today, European countries needed help.

Unfortunately, Russian and Belarusian aggression against Ukraine has intensified so far. Current sanctions are working, but Putin’s regime is doing nothing to end the war. Therefore, the EU should consider stronger measures that would hit the Russian and Belarusian economy and increase the resilience of the EU and the West.

The EU must ban transactions in euros and freeze the foreign assets of Russian banks that have not yet been sanctioned. The extension of EU sanctions to other financial institutions is crucial to destroy the Russian financial system.

The EU must ban SWIFT transactions to all Russian banks (private and public). Current regulations on SWIFT only apply to certain banks who hold only about a quarter of Russian assets. Banks not subject to sanctions can still process foreign payments via SWIFT. However, every Russian bank must be excluded from the system to destroy the Russian banking sector.

The EU must stop depending on Russian gas, oil and coal. We must block the import of energy resources, which represent 57% of Russian exports. By continuing to buy Russian coal, oil and gas, the Europeans are indirectly financing Putin’s war in Ukraine. Unfortunately, high wartime commodity prices mean that Putin’s regime is guaranteed additional revenue.

Economic sanctions will certainly be painful for us Europeans, but that is the price of freedom. And if we are not prepared to pay this price for not protecting European freedom, we could end up having to pay a much higher and humane price to preserve our freedom in the near future (for example, the Russian invasion of an EU country).

The West must do whatever it takes to restore Ukraine’s full sovereignty and control over its territory and impose tougher sanctions on Russia for invading its neighbor. Without them, Ukraine could be lost.

If this happens, Putin’s war against the West will continue and the dream of a united, secure and resilient Europe will be shattered. The Russian leader seems to believe he is perpetually at war – whether military, ideological or economic – with the outside world. The world must act together to get the Russian regime to rethink its aggressive principles.


  • Sébastien Maillard, Director, Jacques Delors Institute, Paris, France
  • Fredrik Sjöholm, CEO, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Christopher Coker, Director of LSE IDEAS, London School of Economics Foreign Policy Think Tank, London, UK
  • James Sherr OBE, Senior Researcher, Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the International Center for Defense and Security, Tallinn, Estonia
  • Phillip Blond, Director, ResPublica, London, UK
  • Benjamin Haddad, Principal Director of the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council, Paris, France
  • Jakub Janda, Director of the European Values ​​Center for Security Policy, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Piotr Arak, Director of the Polish Economic Institute, Warsaw, Poland
  • Paul H. Dembinski, Director, Finance Observatory, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Marian Gorynia, President of the Polish Economic Society, Warsaw, Poland

Mary I. Bruner