Now this is when we know things are getting serious:
Extraordinary measures were taken at the summit to preserve confidentiality, signaling the sensitivity of the debate among 28 national leaders. The president of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, chairing the summit, barred all aides and advisers to the government chiefs from Thursday evening’s dinner and insisted no mobile phones or other electronic devices be allowed. There was no known precedent for such measures in the history of EU summitry, diplomats said.
Security theatre sure, but also a sense of, well, nervousness. There's something personal in the sanctions announced today, a direct assault on the finances of Putin and the Russian overclass, a financial end run around Putin's machismo. That's fine when you're dealing with a global no-mark like Mugabe, but maybe a different matter here. If Russia doesn't have the capacity to attack the personal fortunes of Western politicans in the same way, there are surely plenty of things it could reveal about Russian dealings with our political classes that they would rather not have publicised. It may in fact be the best way they have at striking back, given that they need to sell the gas just as much as we need to buy it. Is there a record, for instance, of what George Osborne said to Mr Deripaska way back when aboard Mr Deripaska's yacht that time when he was asking for money for the Tories? What do Putin's people know about the connections between their overclass and ours? Let the kompromat wars begin.