Perth USAsia Centre CEO Gordon Flake says Russia was presumed to be well placed to withstand sanctions with “massive cash reserves” but most are held internationally.
“As the severity of Russian actions increases and they begin to, as they are doing today, increasingly target civilians, civilian infrastructure, that it would be even more difficult to prevaricate on where one stands as a company, as an individual or as a country on this issue,” he told Sky News Australia.
“There was a presumption going into this that Russia was very well positioned to withstand it [sanctions], that it had massive cash reserves.
“But as it turns out most of those reserves were held internationally and so, again, there was a presumption that Europe in particular given its energy independence upon Russia would be very reticent to go down this route – and instead Europe has actually been leading on this front.
“There will be a cost, we will feel it here in Australia as well, as will the US in terms of fuel prices, in terms of commodity prices, but it’s nothing compared to the cost that is being worn by the Ukrainian people right now.”
Mr Flake’s remarks come after a litany of international sanctions were slapped on Russia, designed to hamstring and deter its offensive in Ukraine- while a new warning has also emerged from the United States.
In his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden declared his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin would pay a “continuing high price” for invading Ukraine.