“Pro-Russian Militias” Seize Police Stations and a City
Pro-Russian activists carrying automatic weapons seized government buildings in Slaviansk and set up barricades on the outskirts of the city. Official buildings in several neighboring towns were also attacked.
Imagine that. I’m sure that some of them are activists. The rest are very likely “activists”.
Ukraine is blustering about using armed force to kick them out, but if they do, they’ll kill some, and that will give the large army on their border a pretext to march in to “protect” Russians in the Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Ukraine refuses to pay higher prices for natural gas, is 2 billion in arrears anyway, and the Russians are saying “well, the contact says that if you don’t make payments in time, we can raise the price.”
Sub voce, of course, the message is “we offered you subsidized gas, and you decided to make nice with the IMF, Europe and America. Get them to pay for your gas, we don’t subsidize countries hostile to us.”
Now all this could be prelude to invasion, but it could also be prelude to negotiations. Russia wants a Federal Ukraine with regions having great autonomy. Going to the table with the message “we already OWN the Eastern Ukraine, it’s federalization or we officially annex it” is a strong bargaining position.
Possession is, as they say, 90% of the “law”.
The West can either accept what Russia is offering, or it can ramp up sanctions. Be clear, sanctions could really hurt Russia, but they will hurt the EU as well, both those countries that rely on Russia for natural gas, and those who launder Russian money (London, in particular.)
Of course, the US probably doesn’t mind if Europe gets hurt, and American commercial interests are pushing to be allowed to sell natural gas to Europe. The fracking boom isn’t going as well as its propaganda, and a bigger market would be nice.
Hard sanctions, though, will push Russia hard into China’s orbit, ensuring that when the real confrontation between the West and China occurse, that Russia, which is still a powerful nation, rich with natural resources China needs, back China, not the West.
In geopolitical terms, the West has acted like idiots. The status quo of a Ukraine which was somewhat more in Moscow’s pocket than Brussels or DC was not harmful to the West, they will lose much to gain part of the Ukraine than it is worth.
Again, the real threat to American hegemony is no longer Russia, it is China. American foreign policy which does not orient around this fact is jejeune and idiotic.
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