EUROPE and the United States have imposed tough sanctions on Russia and on President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
The sanctions – which target Russia’s key financial, arms and energy sectors – come in response to Moscow’s intervention in the Ukraine crisis, particularly the shooting down of a passenger jet over Ukraine this month.
US President Barack Obama has denied that the West has launched a new Cold War against Russia, but also urged Putin to reverse his actions.
“Russia’s energy, financial and defence sectors are feeling the pain,” said Obama. “Projections for Russian economic growth are down to near zero.”
But Europe’s own economy could feel the pinch as well, as Russia is Europe’s biggest source of energy and a key trading partner.
Spain’s own economy – which has seen a large influx of Russian capital over the last few years – could also suffer as a result.
Marbella town hall statistics reveal that there has been a significant increase in Russian expats and holidaymakers over the last year.
In that time, two Russian magazines and a radio station have opened, as well as various businesses entirely geared towards the Russian community.
Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, described the sanctions as a ‘strong warning’ and added that if Russia does not change course then ‘it will find itself increasingly isolated by its own actions’.
“The European Union will fulfil its obligations to protect and ensure the security of its citizens. And the European Union will stand by its neighbours and partners,” he added.
Four of Putin’s inner circle – many of whom have connections with the Costa del Sol – will also have their assets frozen, the names of which will be announced this week.
One EU diplomat warned that: “Putin is going to try and divide the Europeans and his response will be a test of the EU’s unity.”
The remains of some of the Ukraine passenger jet disaster’s 298 victims are still at the site, 13 days after the plane was shot down.