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The Daily Vertical: Does Crime Pay? (Transcript)

One has to wonder why there is any question or any debate about the European Union renewing sanctions against Russia when EU leaders meet in Brussels later this month.

Russia's aggression in the Donbas has not stopped. In fact, in recent weeks it's only intensified.

At least 37 Ukrainian soldiers were killed by Moscow-backed separatists in May alone.

The Ukrainian military claims that there were 51 attacks on their positions in the past day.

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Moscow has made no moves whatsoever to return Ukraine's border to Kyiv's control.

Russia is blocking the introduction of armed peacekeepers in the Donbas.

Dozens of Ukrainian citizens remain unjustly incarcerated in Russia.

And reports emerged this week that Russia may be garnering its forces for a fresh offensive to push south to secure a land bridge to the annexed Crimean Peninsula.

All this, one would think, suggests that sanctions should be intensified, not eased.

And yet German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said last week that sanctions should not be seen as an end in themselves and that an all-or-nothing approach has failed.

Several EU states, including Austria, Greece, Hungary, and Italy, are wavering.

And the authoritative German weekly Der Spiegel has reported that EU leaders were considering a step-by-step easing of sanctions.

If that happens, it would send an unmistakable message to Vladimir Putin: Might makes right, aggression pays, and rules do not matter.

The Daily Vertical and all Power Vertical products will take a brief break and will not appear from June 6-10. But we'll be back in action on June 13.

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