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Russian Cargo Ship Seized by French Authorities as Ukraine Invasion Heats Up

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France took action against Russia on Saturday by intercepting a Russian-flagged ship in the English Channel in accordance with sanctions imposed by the European Union in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Baltic Leader is “strongly suspected of being linked to Russian interests targeted by the sanctions,” said Cpt. Veronique Magnin of the French Maritime Prefecture, according to Voice of America News.

The ship was en route to St. Petersburg with a cargo of automobiles. It was forced into port at Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France.

Russia’s embassy in France has asked the French government for an explanation.

The U.S. Treasury Department has issued sanctions against the ship, linking it to Russian lender Promsvyazbank, which has also been targeted by U.S. sanctions, according to The Guardian.

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Although some nations have sent military hardware to Ukraine, the nation has been largely left on its own to battle the vastly larger and better equipped Russian army, which since the invasion began Thursday has gained ground but faced a Ukrainian resistance fiercer than expected.

Instead, EU and American leaders have imposed sanctions to punish Russia through its economy.

The EU will seek to “weaken Russia’s economic base and its capacity to modernize” and “freeze Russian assets in the EU and stop the access of Russian banks to the European financial market,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, according to CNBC.

“What we are facing is an unprecedented act of aggression by the Russian leadership against a sovereign, independent country,” von der Leyen said.

But in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said more needs to be done.

Noem criticized President Joe Biden for his “weak leadership” and said he ought to step down if he can’t get tough with the Russians, according to The Hill.

“If we ever needed a reminder that leadership has consequences, that it matters, the last 48 hours have shown us what happens when America projects weakness,” Noem said. “That is exactly what President Biden has done.”

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Noem said Biden should impose “heavy sanctions” on Russia’s energy sector and cut it off from world financial systems. She also said Biden should “reopen our federal lands for drilling and oil and natural gas exploration” and restart the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“If Joe Biden can’t or he won’t do these things, then he should resign,” Noem said.

“He should resign before his weak leadership and poor decision-making drag America back into another needless war.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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