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Since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unusual speech on Monday night, discussions in Europe have swirled around whether the European Union will maintain its tough stance on sanctions. unpublished or not.

The position of the EU is significant because so far the West’s position in this crisis has been closely coordinated.

NATO has led the military and political organization while the EU, the world’s largest economic union, has proposed a package of sanctions that could severely damage the Russian economy, associates of Putin and weaken Moscow’s grip on Russia’s sphere of influence.

Last week, a NATO official told CNN that without the EU sanctions proposals “the Western response would certainly be much weaker”.

But fears arose on Monday night that the EU would come up with a less harsh package to keep diplomatic options open and balanced.

Putin’s decision to send troops to two pro-Moscow breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, and to recognize them as independent, has put the West in a very difficult position as it determines whether what happened today. Is Monday considered an outright invasion?

According to a senior EU diplomat, the thinking on Tuesday morning was that the West needed to take tough action against Putin because of his most recent actions, but left the option open to go further if Putin escalate again.

“They are looking at a package of sanctions that are still within the framework of the 2014 sanctions package,” the diplomat explained, after Russia annexed Crimea.

They say all of this is being done with the full coordination of the US and UK, but that “keeping a lot of clubs in our back pockets makes a lot of sense”.

The diplomat added that “the package presented today needs to be heavy enough to actually hurt but to hold the package with major consequences and costs available in the event of an escalation.”

They acknowledge, however, that we are unlikely to see a new, maximum damage package of sanctions in response to Putin’s most recent act of aggression.

The UK is expected to deliver a package of sanctions today and has publicly taken a very hard line against Putin.

Obviously, things are flowing and subject to change, especially since no one knows what Putin’s next move will be. However, the unexpected move of the Russian President on Monday left the Western alliance in a difficult position as it did not know how far to go in response.

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