The current international battle over Ukraine has seen Russia and the West deploy a variety of economic sanctions and incentives—both to punish each other and influence Ukraine. However, in the existing International Relations literature virtually all sanctions cases consider only a one-sided struggle: an economic power (perhaps with allies) trying to influence a weaker state. What happens when there is a clash between two powerful economic actors? Which will win out? This study offers insights both into the case itself and the nature of such complex 'sanctions battles,' which are understudied. The rise of new economic powers such as China, India, and Brazil will likely mean that the West should anticipate many more conflicts of this type. Additionally, the West should be concerned because, as the literature suggests and this case shows, democratic states may be more vulnerable to economic pressure than autocracies. It seems likely that in many future crises—as in the Ukrainian one today—both the West and its allies may thus be at a disadvantage, as democracies facing autocratic opponents. However, as the policy recommendations at the end of this paper will show, there may still be ways for the West to use sanctions effectively.