I like to be the first to admit when I am wrong. I didn’t think that Russia would invade the main part of Ukraine, but now they have.
It seems that Putin is less concerned about any financial repercussions than the many billionaires and millionaires in his country are. And after making a lot of noise about ‘strict sanctions’ last week, those sanctions proved to be rather lukewarm, and ultimately toothless.
This is especially true in the case of Boris Johnson, who made a great deal of the puny sanctions he imposed this week by limiting the activities of three Russian-owned banks in London. Refusing to go after billions of pounds of Russian money invested in property in Britain, he claimed that everyone who owned them was ‘on the electoral register as a UK resident’. This despite the easily-proven fact that most are owned by shell companies fronted by Russian oligarchs and registered in foreign tax havens.
All of this lukewarm response to sanctions must have assured Putin that he was free to do anything he liked, as long as his troops did not cross the border into a NATO-member country. Add to this the constant reports that no western country was prepared to assist Ukraine militarily, other than to supply them with weapons and munitions.
So, the dice has been rolled, and has not yet reached the end of the gaming table.