By Mick Krever, CNN
A new round of Western sanctions against Russia, yet to be approved, will “be deeper and more significant” than those already on the books, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.
The sanctions being discussed are “fairly substantial measures that are going to have fairly substantial impact on critical sectors of the Russian economy.”
Bildt would not go into further details about the measures, because they are still under discussion.
He spoke with Amanpour from Wales, where NATO is holding what is likely its most significant meeting since the end of the Cold War.
The military alliance is getting back to its roots – collective defense – as the West grapples with how to deal with a Russian intrusion into Ukraine and ISIS radical militants.
“We are trying to understand what can be done in order to stop the Russians,” Bildt said.
Sweden is not a NATO member, but in the wake of Russia’s intrusion into Ukraine is expanding its cooperation with NATO.
Russian President Vladimir Putin “is looking for splitting the European Union, splitting the Western alliance, if he can.”
In an interview with Amanpour last week, the Ukrainian charge d'affaires in London indicated that it was only through unanimity of the international community that the global order could be maintained.
“It has taken time for everyone to wake up to what is happening,” Bildt said. I think things have changed lately.”
“MH17 was clearly something that changed the picture for a lot of countries. And subsequently what we’ve seen during the past few weeks is that Russia has been inserting regular Russian forces into Ukraine.”
“I think that has been a wake-up call, and I think we now see in terms of the discussion inside the European Union, for example, a much stronger response than was the case earlier.”
Thursday brought the prospect of a cease fire in eastern Ukraine, based on a peace proposal put forward by President Putin.
Bildt said that while such a deal would be positive in that it would halt hostilities, it was certainly not a solution to the conflict.
“There are two critical components missing from his seven points. First, there is no withdrawal of Russian forces.”
“And secondly, there is no Ukrainian control of its borders, while as you say he is demanding withdrawal of Ukrainian troops inside Ukraine, but he wants to retain Russian forces in Ukraine.”