A professor of political science and an ex-Minister of External Affairs, Bolaji Akinyemi, has said the sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and its allies will not change President Vladimir Putin’s position on Ukraine.
Russia Thursday invaded Ukraine and on Friday, Putin called on the Ukrainian army to overthrow the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Putin is particularly enraged by the prospect of NATO bases next to his borders and says Ukraine joining the US-led transatlantic alliance would mark the crossing of a red line.
Meanwhile, the US, UK and some other countries have announced sanctions against Russia, but the former minister who has had over 60 years of experience in foreign affairs, in an exclusive interview with Sahara TV, said Putin would not be deterred by the sanctions.
Akinyemi said, “I’m trying to think of a country where sanctions have worked either in effecting government change or policy change.
“For 60 years, America (US) has maintained a regime of sanctions against Cuba and the Cuban government has not changed, its policies have not changed.
“Yes, the country has been ruined by American sanctions but that’s about it. No, the sanctions will not make Putin change his mind, especially since the sanctions are not going to be effective in terms of substance and will not be effective in terms of implementation.
“Putin has about $60billion saved as a cushion against these effects of sanctions so that the Russian economy could actually depend a lot on internal savings as well as of course whatever the national income can be generated from exports to China. Its export of oil has not been touched.
“Its dependence on SWIFT for its banking system which is a procedure by which banks communicate has not been touched because there are countries-European countries- which are unwilling to sign on to a sanctions regime involving SWIFT.
“You could see that even while passion is still high, there are divisions among European countries and North Atlantic allies as to how far they should go in terms of issues of imposition of sanctions.
“So as far as sanctions are concerned, I don’t see this. For about two months now, they have been promising hellfire and brimstones in terms of economic sanctions if Putin did this, that is enough time to plan. They had enough time to argue among themselves and then Putin did this.
“The first one he did, he waited for the so-called sanctions that had never been seen before, he got a slap on the wrist and then he decided to go in for the full invasion. I’m still not satisfied with the package of sanctions. I think they could have been more.”
Tso far, the sanctions have targeted different areas, hitting specific financial institutions, Russia's capacity to raise sovereign debt on international markets as well as several individuals.
Germany has indefinitely postponed certification of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a gas pipeline that connects mainland Russia with Germany.
US President Joe Biden said the Russian financial institutions VEB and Promsvyazbank would be targeted. The UK has hit Rossiya, IS Bank, GenBank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank. EU has said it would sanction 351 members of the Russian parliament among others.