Putin Says Russia Does Not Want Ukraine Split After Crimea
Comment of the Day

March 18 2014

Commentary by David Fuller

Putin Says Russia Does Not Want Ukraine Split After Crimea

Here is the conclusion to this report from Bloomberg on Vladimir Putin’s showcase speech (note the second photo):

Putin today gave no indication that a resolution between Russia and the West is near, and Russia could take over more of its neighbor, Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels, said.

“Putin has a long record of violating international boundaries, so I wouldn’t believe anything he says about not seeking to grab more of Ukraine,” Erixon said. “The Kremlin is interested not just in eastern Ukraine but also Kiev and western Ukraine, which is all seen as part of Mother Russia.”

Defending his policy, Putin lashed out at the U.S. and NATO area countries for infringing on territory close to Russia’s interests and engaging “Russian containment.”

“Everything has its limits,” Putin said. “And in the case of Ukraine, our Western partners have crossed the line and behaved rudely, irresponsibly and unprofessionally.”

Western nations criticized both Putin’s push to take over Crimea and his reasoning that NATO’s 1999 intervention to force Serbian troops out of Kosovo and the expansion of western alliances into the area of the ex-Soviet Union justified it.

“It was regrettable to hear President Putin today choosing the route of isolation,” U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said in the House of Commons. “No amount of sham and perverse democratic process or skewed historical references can make up for the fact that this is an incursion into a sovereign state and a land grab of part of its territory.”

David Fuller's view

No, in answer to the headline above; Putin wants all of Ukraine.

Russia’s autocratic ruler has a weak economy but a strong military with which he will use coercion to expand his Eurasian Customs Union, until he is stopped, preferably by Russians. 

This is the last thing Western governments wanted, particularly following the severe credit crisis recession.  However, Europeans know their history so they will hopefully respond to this latest wake-up call and attempt to isolate Putin economically.  This is a gradual process and the most effective way to start is by ending their energy dependence on Russia.  They could do this by fracking for natural gas and oil; so could Ukraine, if unimpeded, because it has some of the most promising shale resources in Eastern Europe.  The next stage is for Europe to speed up its development of solar energy, as rapidly as possible, because this is already vastly superior in every respect to windmills. 

If Europe is really serious about achieving energy dependence from Russia and other less than desirable regimes, it should take a fresh look at new nuclear power.  This article headline: Mini-nuclear plants safe as windmills, says Urenco boss, is both an exaggeration and an understatement, because there is nothing safe about wind farms if you live within a two or three of miles of them. 


Meanwhile, stock markets have decided that the Russian problem is ending.  That may be correct for the short term and I have often said that a political crisis will only affect markets while it is perceived to be worsening. 

That is not the case today but would you trust Putin?  He will be emboldened and the fact that Russia has a weak economy may hasten his aggression over the medium term.    

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