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Russian blackmail or just business?

Keep your eyes and objectivity open when considering the circumstances surrounding the Russian and Ukrainian affair. Before Russian invaded the Crimean region of the Ukraine, the Ukraine nation owed Russia about $15 billion in debt. Now, considering that the relationship between the Ukraine and Russia was corrupt and crooked, one might quibble over the calculation, yet there is no denying that the Ukraine owed Russia a substantial sum. One might wonder why the Ukraine government didn’t consider exchanging the Crimean Region for cancelling the debt, for instance. But, that didn’t happen. A large part of the money owed has to do with the fuel supply. The Ukraine is fueled by Russian suppliers and sources of energy.

So, now, Vladimir Putin is waving the debt card. That is, if the Ukraine wants fuel it had better pay up. Conservatives in Congress once speculated just weeks ago that foreign aid to the Ukraine would go directly to Russia to pay down the debt. Now, we see that strong possibility. Is Putin’s raising concern a form of blackmail, or is it cold hearted capitalism? You be the judges. This story is triggered by a Reuters report.

“Putin tells European leaders Ukraine debt may affect gas transit

MOSCOW, April 10 Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:15am EDT

(Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin has informed several European leaders about the "critical situation" over Ukraine's natural gas debt and about a possible impact on the transit of gas to Europe, Russian news agencies said on Thursday.

Putin expressed "extreme concern about the situation surrounding Ukraine's gas debts and ... supplies of gas to the European Union," state-run RIA cited Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, as saying.

State-controlled gas producer Gazprom stopped pumping gas to Ukraine during price disputes in the winters of 2005-2006 and 2008-2009, leading to reduced supplies in European countries that receive Russian gas via pipelines that cross Ukraine.

Gazprom says Ukraine owes $2.2 billion for gas supplies and missed the deadline for paying for its March supplies.”

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