BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on Thursday that Russia was not achieving its goals in its invasion of Ukraine and that Western sanctions were partly the reason for that.
“What we are aiming for here is a strategic failure for (Russian President) Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. And I believe that is already happening, that no matter what happens … Ukraine is going to survive,” Sherman told a Friends of Europe think-tank event in Brussels.
Sherman, who spoke after talks with the European Union’s foreign service secretary general Stefano Sannino, did not offer any specific evidence for her comments.
But she cited the economic sanctions and export controls that have been imposed by the United States, the European Union, Britain, Japan, and other allies since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Moscow has said its “special military operation” is essential to ensure Russian security and rejects Western accusations of atrocities and the indiscriminate shelling of cities.
“Putin is facing a strategic failure because of the sanctions that have been put on because of the long term impact this will have,” Sherman said.
The Western sanctions have already pushed Russia into its deepest economic crisis since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
Sherman said there would be a “long tail” to sanctions and export controls on Russia. She also hoped China would take note of Western unity.
“We have hundreds of U.S. companies, literally, who have left Russia, and they’re not returning. So, the tail here is very long. There will be strategic failure. Putin has become a pariah in the world,” she said.
Sherman also said if European Union decided to impose oil and gas sanctions on Russia, the United States would aim to avoid any price increases that would help Russia’s finances.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott, additional reporting by David Brunnstrom and Michael Martina in Washington; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)