West could exclude Russia from SWIFT and sanction Nord Stream, Latvia says


  • West could exclude Russia from SWIFT, Latvia says
  • West could sanction Nord Stream, Latvia says
  • NATO must strengthen its eastern flank, Latvia says
  • Will Putin invade Ukraine? Try astrology, says Latvia

LONDON, December 7 (Reuters) – The West must send a strong message to Russia to deter it from invading Ukraine, including cutting Russia off from the SWIFT payment system, sanctioning the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and strengthening NATO’s eastern flank, Latvia said on Tuesday.

Hours before US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin discuss Ukraine in a video conference, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars RinkÄ“vičs told Reuters: “Russia needs to know in advance what is the economical price “.

The US intelligence services estimate that Russia could plan a multi-front offensive against Ukraine as early as next year, involving up to 175,000 troops. The Kremlin denies its intention to invade and claims the West is plagued by Russophobia.

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U.S. officials have said Biden will tell Putin that an invasion by his neighbor could see Russia and its banks face the toughest economic sanctions to date. Read more

RinkÄ“vičs, foreign minister since 2011, said it was not clear whether Putin was simply trying to test the West’s resolve or whether the Kremlin was planning a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“Maybe astrology or some other more precise science needs to be involved. But I think Ukraine for Russia and President Putin is an essential part of the kind of vision of a great Russia,” Rinkēvičs said. in an interview in London.

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics speaks at a press conference in Riga, Latvia, March 2, 2020. REUTERS / Ints Kalnins

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He said if Russia invaded Ukraine, the West should prepare a package of very strict economic sanctions, including cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international payment system used by banks around the world and sanctioning the Nord Stream pipeline. 2 of $ 11 billion.

The NATO military alliance is also expected to strengthen its presence throughout Eastern Europe to deter Putin and some NATO allies could supply Ukraine with arms, Rinkēvičs said.

“NATO must increase its presence on the eastern flank to show Russia that the price of a military adventure in Ukraine is more troops, more defense capabilities and underlying defense capabilities in the Baltic states,” in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, “he said.

In recent years, NATO has increased its presence in the Baltic states and throughout Eastern Europe, a move that has dismayed the Kremlin.

Rinkēvičs said battlegroups in the Baltic states should be strengthened, air defenses strengthened, logistical security improved and an increased US presence on the ground.

“Considering what is happening now in and around Ukraine, we also need to review where we stand with the defense of NATO’s eastern flank,” RinkÄ“vičs said.

“It means more capabilities that could actually send a very strong deterrent message to Russia.”

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Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Kate Holton and Catherine Evans

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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