Travel restrictions for key Russian business magnates allied with Putin would get his attention very quickly. A cancellation of the upcoming G-8 summit in Sochi, Russia, combined with restrictions on Russian hard-currency transactions abroad would send the ruble’s value plummeting and put severe pressures on Russia’s central bank.
Yes, Putin almost certainly would retaliate, as he already is threatening to do. But he has a limited ability to withstand sustained pressure while drawing heavily on Russian central bank reserves to keep his economy afloat.
The goal should be to drive this crisis home to Putin’s doorstep, forcing him to choose between domestic economic calamity and continued occupation of Crimea. To make Putin’s choices as clear as possible, major European powers must stop their equivocating and get on board with sanctions. That won’t be easy or convenient, but it’s a far better option than allowing Russia’s aggression to go unchecked.
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