Spanish PM warns Russia of massive sanctions if it invades Ukraine


Madrid (Reuters) – Russia would face massive economic consequences if it launched any kind of military intervention in Ukraine, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday.

Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine but denies planning to attack its neighbour. It is seeking sweeping security guarantees from NATO including a pledge that Ukraine will never be allowed to join the alliance.

The European Union and the United States have threatened further crippling economic sanctions against Russia if it invades Ukraine.

“It’s important to convey the message to Russia that any case of military intervention would have massive and serious consequences for its economy from EU sanctions,” Sanchez told a joint news conference with his Finnish counterpart.

He did not specify what form the sanctions would take.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin reiterated that her country had no immediate plans to join NATO but said that Russia had no veto over any such decision.

“We have the possibility of applying (to join NATO) in the future and it’s very important that we keep this possibility open to ourselves. Nobody can say to us what to do. It’s our own decision,” she said.

Finland shares a 1,340 (830 mile) border with Russia and a difficult history that included clashes during World War Two.

Though not a NATO member, Finland cooperates with the alliance and it has enhanced its military readiness as Moscow has built up its forces along the border with Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Marin told Reuters Finland would stand with its European Union partners and the United States by imposing tough new sanctions on Russia if it attacks Ukraine.

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