Κυριακή, 4 Ιανουαρίου 2015

Putin Calls for ‘Political’ Solution in Ukraine, China Pledges Billions for Southeast Europe

Weakened Russia eager for Ukraine compromise?

Russia’s economic woes may prompt it to seek a compromise solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, The New York Times reports. 

However, the conduct of President Vladimir Putin has been so unpredictable in recent months that Western leaders are wary of sounding too optimistic, the paper writes.

With the value of the ruble plummeting, Putin has indicated to his Ukrainian, German, and French counterparts that he wants to cement a cease-fire that came into effect last week.

Ukraine agreed with Russian-backed separatists to restart peace talks 21 December in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, AFP reports.

The latest developments come as President Barack Obama risks opening a rift with his European allies over the implementation of tighter sanctions against Moscow, according to The New York Times.

As the White House prepares to sign legislation to expand the sanctions, Europe has made clear that it does not support such a move.

European Union leaders will discuss Russian sanctions and new economic aid for Ukraine at their summit in Brussels today and tomorrow.

At his end of the year news conference today, Putin said the Ukraine crisis “will have to be resolved sooner or later,” but “through political means, not just pressure.”

Addressing his country’s financial problems, he said it was important to implement the correct macro-economic policy.

For many years we have been trying to improve the business climate in Russia. I hope that the current situation will help us to diversify [the] Russian economy.”

The Guardian's Luke Harding reports that the current lull in the fighting in eastern Ukraine “appears to mark a retooling of the Kremlin’s strategy.”

With the ruble plummeting, Western sanctions biting and with the onset of winter, Moscow has decided that the bill to unite Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine as a latter-day "Novorossiya"  is too large, Harding writes.

A Reuters commentary meanwhile says that with the possibility of a deep recession and brutal inflation in the offing, a meaningful de-escalation in Ukraine could change everything.

But few expect Putin to take that path yet,” the commentary says

Source: TOL