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Russia could be cut off from markets

MUNICH (AP) — Moscow would have its access to fi- nancial markets and high- tech goods limited under Western sanctions being pre- pared in case Russia attacks Ukraine, one of the European Union’s top officials said Sat- urday.

The comments from Ursula
von der Leyen, the head of
the EU’s executive commis-
sion, came as tensions over
Russia’s intentions toward
Ukraine intensified. U.S.

President Joe Biden said Fri- day he was convinced” Rus- sian President Vladimir Pu- tin has decided to invade the neighboring country.

“The Kremlin’s danger- ous thinking, which comes straight out of a dark past, may cost Russia a prosper- ous future,” von der Leyen said Saturday during the annual Munich Security Conference, where U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke.

Von der Leyen said the EU’s executive arm has developed a “robust and comprehensive package” of financial sanc- tions with the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

“In case that Russia strikes, we will limit the access to fi- nancial markets for the Rus- sian economy and (impose) export controls that will stop the possibility for Russia to modernize and diversify its economy,” she added. “And we have a lot of high-tech goods where we have a global dominance, and that are ab- solutely necessary for Russia and cannot be replaced eas- ily.”

German Chancellor Olaf

Scholz said that during a Tuesday meeting with Putin he “made clear that any fur- ther violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine will have high costs for Russia, politi- cally, economically and geo- strategically.”

“And at the same time, I stressed that diplomacy won’t fail because of us,” Scholz added. “As much di- plomacy as possible without being naïve, that is our aspi- ration, and we are using all channels of communication for that.”

Western leaders so far have not specified what precise Russian action would trigger sanctions.

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