Will there be World War 3?

Ukraine fears World War 3 - sanctions are drawing closer

Kiev / Moscow (Reuters) - Russia and the West are heading for an economic war because of the escalating Ukraine crisis.

US President Barack Obama wants to phone Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU heads of government on Friday to urge them to impose sanctions on Russia. The worsening situation caused great uncertainty on the stock markets. The Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseni Yatsenjuk accused Russia of wanting to start World War III by invading Ukraine. A Ukrainian army helicopter was set on fire at an airfield near the city of Slavyansk. The place in the east of the country is a stronghold of the separatists.

"The world has not yet forgotten World War II, Russia wants to start World War III," said Yatsenyuk at a cabinet meeting. Russia wants to throw the presidential election on May 25 in Ukraine off the rails, overthrow the pro-Western government and occupy the country “with political and military means”. Attempts at military interference in Ukraine, however, would lead to armed conflict in Europe, warned Yatsenyuk in his harshest criticism of Russia to date. However, NATO rules out military intervention in Ukraine, which is not part of the Western military alliance.

The Russian armed forces are holding maneuvers near the Ukrainian border, for which the Foreign Ministry in Kiev is demanding an explanation by Saturday. In the past few days, Russian troops had approached the border within a kilometer, but not crossed it, it was said in Kiev.

The US has made it clear that it is relying on economic pressure rather than military force. You accuse Russia of violating the Geneva Agreement to defuse the Ukraine crisis and are therefore urging rapid economic penalties. Above all, Germany and Italy, on the other hand, are on the brakes, it said. According to the US, Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will take part in the conference call with Obama.

The USA can impose economic sanctions on its own, but would prefer to join forces with the EU. So far, it has only imposed entry bans and account blocks in the Ukraine crisis. The community is threatening economic sanctions in the event that Russia invades eastern Ukraine. The Europeans are economically much more closely intertwined with Russia than the USA and also depend on their large neighbor in the east for energy supplies. Russia has threatened to lock out foreign companies that are pulling out of the country due to sanctions.


Even without a new round of sanctions, the crisis is already leaving its mark on the economy in both the West and Russia. The world's largest credit card company VisaV.N said that the existing US sanctions against Russia are already depressing cross-border sales. Visa has issued 100 million credit cards in Russia. In March, the group, like its competitor MasterCardMA.N, ceased business with two Russian banks that are subject to US sanctions. The major Swedish bank SEBSEBa.ST is concerned about its business in the Baltic states because of the Ukraine conflict.

The flight of capital from Russia has also intensified drastically since the beginning of the crisis. The rating agency S&P therefore downgraded the country's creditworthiness. The rating for Russia's creditworthiness in foreign currencies is now only one notch above junk level. According to the World Bank, just under $ 64 billion flowed out of Russia in the first quarter of the year alone, as much as in the entire previous year.

In the Ukraine, meanwhile, violence continues. A Ukrainian army pilot was wounded in Kramatorsk near Slavyansk when his helicopter was shot at on the ground. Police said seven people were injured when a bomb detonated at a Ukrainian checkpoint near the port city of Odessa. Odessans have set up several of these posts around the city to prevent the infiltration of pro-Russian separatists from neighboring Transnistria. Russian soldiers are stationed in the region that broke away from the Republic of Moldova in the early 1990s.