Given the actions of the Rada in Ukraine and the flight of the regime leadership to Harkiv, it is evident that (a) the Russian financial assistance that barely kept the country aloft financially will end, and (b) Russia will engage in economic warfare against the country (even if it does not engage in armed warfare). Thus, Ukraine faces economic collapse.
This is something that the west-the EU and the US-and international organizations-notably the IMF-can prevent. It’s only a matter of money. Emergency economic assistance is imperative.
Concerned about the cost? Don’t be penny-wise, and pound foolish.
And one hopes that after its bitter experience in the past, that Europe has contingency plans in place to respond to a Russian cutoff of gas. Not just gas going through Ukraine, but through Nordstream as well. For Russia is blaming Europe for what is happening in Ukraine. A full cutoff would cut against Gazprom’s interests (and hence the interests of the Russian power structures which feed off it), but the stakes in Ukraine are big enough for Putin that he could well consider that a price worth paying if he believes it will stampede the Europeans into abandoning the opposition-or, I should say, the new government in Ukraine.
Putin is playing for keeps, and this setback to his schemes will only enrage him and steel his resolve to prevail. He will pull economic levers to do so. The west should pull the economic levers of its own.
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