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When Russia invaded Ukraine, western governments froze roughly $300 billion in Russian foreign reserves and most of the foreign assets of individuals and organisations connected to Putin’s regime. Brands like McDonalds, BP and H&M announced they were shutting down operations in Russia, but studies suggest only a minority of international companies actually withdrew from the Russian market altogether.
The West has tried to isolate Putin diplomatically, but he still has friends in Belarus, China, Kazakhstan and Iran. Russia might not be able to compete in the UEFA championships or the Eurovision song contest, but Russian athletes can still attend the 2024 Olympics under a neutral flag. All of which raises the question: what more should be done? Why isn’t Russia a pariah everywhere? Should it still be a member of the World Trade Organisation, or have a seat on the UN security council?
If commercial, financial, cultural and military options have run out of road, what other levers are open to the West, and is the West prepared to use them?
editor and invited experts
Baroness Catherine Ashton
Former British Labour politician, Author