University of São Paulo: Economic sanctions against Russia also affect countries that buy their products.

Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, has suffered new bombings from Russia, which is expanding its offensive to take the city in the neighboring country. This conflict has a series of humanitarian, geopolitical and economic implications that are explained, in an interview with Jornal da USP in Ar 1st Edition , by Paulo Borba Casella, professor at the Department of International Law at the USP Law School and coordinator of the Study Group on BRICS (Gebrics).

In Casella’s assessment, the Russian attack is gratuitous and unnecessary. “While technocrats decide the war, it is soldiers and civilians who are at risk for their lives”, says the professor. The speed of the Russian offensive also indicates that this confrontation was already being planned.


In retaliation, countries such as the United States and members of the European Union have imposed a series of economic sanctions on Russia. According to Casella, this creates problems for the Russians, but also for the countries that buy their products. “We have to take into account that [Russia] is a big economy, an important supplier of gas and oil to the world.” There are also doubts that these sanctions can stop the conflict.

The professor points out that the country had already been subject to economic sanctions in 2014, when it annexed Crimea, another Ukrainian region. Since then, it has developed the internal production of products that were previously imported. Putin’s Russia has carefully prepared for this conflict: it has reduced its dependence on the dollar, increased reserves in other currencies, diversified its gas and oil supply agreements and, for example, expanded its partnership with China,” he says.

In addition to its economic importance, the partnership with the Chinese could have consequences in Taiwan, a territory claimed by the Chinese. Both China and Russia make up the BRICS, an economic bloc also formed by Brazil, India and South Africa.

Casella recalls that speeches of alignment with international law and strengthening of the United Nations were common in bloc meetings. “This, from now on, can no longer be talked about the way it was said until now”, says the professor, when commenting on the violations committed by Russia.

humanitarian crisis

The Russian invasion drove many Ukrainians to leave the country. According to calculations by the United Nations (UN), around 100,000 people had to seek refuge in foreign cities and neighboring countries such as Poland. This situation can exacerbate the migration issue, which is already critical in Europe. “The common citizen who pays the bill suffers from the conflict, has shortages and lack of basic supplies”, explains Casella.

In some regions of eastern Ukraine, part of the population is made up of ethnic Russians who are in favor of the invasion. In Russia, more than 1,500 people were arrested in protests against the invasion.

Casella says there is a risk of this becoming a widespread conflagration. “Once an armed conflict breaks out against a country of 45 million people, you have no control over what can happen.”

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