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Friday, April 11, 2014

Карти з України

Letters From The Ukraine

Putin warns Europe about Ukraine gas debt
Associated Press
MOSCOW (AP) — Dragging much of Europe into his fight with Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged European leaders Thursday to quickly help Ukraine settle its gas debt to Russia to prevent an imminent shutdown of Russian natural gas supplies to the continent.

Putin's letter to 18 leaders, released Thursday by the Kremlin, is part of Russia's efforts to retain control over its struggling neighbor, which is teetering on the verge of financial ruin and is facing a pro-Russian separatist mutiny in the east.

A large Russian military buildup alongside the Ukrainian border has also raised fears that the Kremlin could use the tensions in eastern Ukraine as a pretext to invade, following Moscow's annexation of Crimea last month...

I have said many nice things about Mr. Putin, even though I have never met him.

That may have to stop.

I do not see Mr. Putin's threat as credible, and if it is not credible to me, it is hardly credible to anyone that matters in this affair.
Exactly how a nation that is essentially a petro-giant can make a living by shutting off the flow of hydrocarbons is beyond my understanding. I am young enough to remember the fuel embargoes of the past, and they led directly to conservation measure which drove down the price of fuel in the 1980s. (Of course, we soon forgot history and started driving SUVs that got 14 miles to the gallon, but my point is still valid.)

This bit of business tells me things I wish were not true about Mr. Putin, but there they are.


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