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Opinion
Lionel Laurent

Sanctions Fatigue Is Next Obstacle in Confronting Putin

Western unity will fray without tackling economic pain.

Russian President Vladimir Putin Attends The Summit Of Collective Security Treaty Organisation
Photographer: Contributor/Getty Images Europe

The momentum behind Western sanctions against Vladimir Putin is flagging. Even as the European Union toasts its toughest restrictions yet against the Russian war machine — including a partial ban on oil imports — concessions are mounting, from exempting pipeline crude to removing Putin’s favorite cleric from the sanctions list.

Hungary’s Viktor Orban, an admirer of Putin, is clearly playing a big role in splintering the united front. But the risk of fatigue and waning morale goes well beyond Budapest. The cost of hitting Putin where it hurts — energy — is preying on many leaders’ minds at a time of high inflation and economic slowdown, as is the grim sight of Russia’s advance regaining momentum after 100 days of fighting.