Western sanctions on Russia are not working and a proposal to provide defensive weapons to Ukrainian security forces will not deter the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine, according to Andrei Illarionov, a former adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“For those few people who are there [on the sanctions list], yes, it is rather painful,” but otherwise sanctions are “barely seen” in Russia, Illarionov said at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center April 7.

Arming Ukrainian troops “is not something that can stop” Russia’s actions in Ukraine, said Illarionov, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity at the Cato Institute.

Illarionov said Putin has been planning his war on Ukraine for more than a decade spurred on by Ukraine’s shift toward the European Union in 1991.

It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2013 to try and remove obstacles to Ukraine’s association with the European Union that set off alarm bells in the Kremlin, Putin’s former economic advisor said.

John E. Herbst, Director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, moderated the discussion. He wanted to know what would be Putin’s next target.

Putin is playing a “big game” aimed at forcing his opponents to negotiate and if they don’t the “stakes on the ground might be raised in Ukraine, in Georgia, in Moldova, in Belarus, in the Baltics,” said Illarionov.