Attention is now back to Ukraine. After a little reprieve from media attention, the unceasing impasse in Ukraine takes another turn as winter hits Europe. Russia up the ante with Putin’s next move to cut gas flowing through Ukraine to other European countries.The Daily Mail reported with the headlines “Europe plunged into energy crisis as Russia cuts off gas supply via Ukraine“. Gas exports to Europe was cut by 60%. Six countries Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Croatia and Turkey reported a complete halt in gas shipments from Russia through Ukraine. The Cold War has gotten colder. Didn’t Europe see this coming? The NATO countries have put the screw on Russia with sanctions after sanctions, watching Russia groan as sanctions took effect. Then oil prices did a spectacular plunge squeezing Russia with reduced income from oil exports. The bear may have been hurt, but not dead yet. In fact, while shutting off the gas flowing into Ukraine, Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev skied a few runs at the Laura complex and did cross-country skiing in Krasnaya Polyana, finishing off the day with a glass of mulled wine. Certainly not dead yet.
Who are the real losers in the war of sanctions, attrition and test of will of world leaders? People of Europe and Russia of course. USA is too far away to be of real concern to whatever happens in Europe. The US has no dependency on Russian oil and gas. Russians may feel the impact of a declining rouble and expensive imports from Europe. But with the BRICS agreement with other non-European nations, imports of basic necessity may not be that impacted even if Europe will no longer supply. Instead, the weak rouble may reduce unnecessary imports of non essentials such as luxury goods and cars. That’s good for Russia and bad for Europe. At the same time, a weak rouble may stimulate Russian industries to diversify and spur exports. Ironically, the Russians may be having the last laughs.
Turning off the gas is just the beginning. Putin has more lethal moves ahead to counter Western-backed actions in Europe. KIEV/TASS reported that “Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed a decree on another mobilization. He put his signature to the document at a meeting with the heads of regional authorities.” Another 100,000 men may be mobilized. While there’s little report on the civil war situation in Ukraine, bombs are still dropping all over in and around Donetsk. The situation is still tense and fragile. Wouldn’t Russia react again after the gas screws tighten around Ukraine and Ukraine mobilize more forces? Will it be military engagement next? Gorbachev said recently that “NATO Expansion Into Ukraine Could Ignite Nuclear War; World ‘Will Not Survive The Next Few Years’”. He better be wrong.
Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.