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Russia holds all the cards in poker game with Ukraine

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Ukraine, embarrassed by the Russian’s blatant annexation of the Crimea Peninsula informed the Kremlin yesterday they may nationalize Russian property.

Although the threat is understandable, it’s doubtful it will create a ripple in Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty Tuesday that immediately brings the Crimea into the “Russian Federation.” The announcement followed the rigged election Sunday that favored a split from Ukraine overwhelmingly.

To many old enough, it is reminiscent of Adolph Hitler’s annexing of Czechoslovakia right under the western power’s noses in 1938 prior to the outbreak of WWII.

No other country in the world has recognized the Kremlin land grab condemned as illegal by the new Western-backed administration that toppled pro-Moscow authorities in Kiev last month.

The Russian-installed puppets that now govern Crimea have aimed at severing their ties with Kiev and shoring up the creaking economy in the short term. Predictably, they now claim the pipelines as well as offshore oil and natural gas platforms of Ukraine's state-owned Chornomorneftegaz and Ukrtransgaz energy firms.

As payback for Ukraine’s threat to nationalize Russian assets in their country, the Crimean authorities also threatened to nationalize several Ukrainian banks.

Ukraine's Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko, sounding as weak as Secretary of State John Kerry, called the nationalization measures “illegal” and warned Russia that it faced reprisals should it back Crimea's moves.
It was hardly the type of threats to move the Kremlin.

Russia's state-owned natural gas giant Gazprom has a vast pipeline network running through Ukraine that feeds clients in southern and western Europe.

In other words, without outside natural resources, Ukraine has no cards to deal.

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