Ukraine, a battleground for Russia and NATO.

Looking at the raw updates from different news portals since 21st November 2013 till now, it can be said that all started the day when Viktor Yanukovych (President: February 2010-February 2014) suspended the preparations for EU trade agreement reasoning it is in the favour of Ukraine's national security. Initial riot with hundreds then lakhs worsened the situation. Feeling pressured, Mr. Yanukovych left his chair and fled to Russia leaving opposition do the fun.

Russia, USA and EU justify their involvement into the situation through their own different arguments. If few to be believed, Ukraine seems not more than a battle ground for two parties: NATO and Russia. Politically, whole Ukraine has been divided into two sides, either it is pro-NATO (say, pro-EU/pro-US/pro-Western) or the pro-Russian. Below are the few particulars from this ongoing incident which throw some light on its broader picture:

1) Postponement of Agreement:

Mr. Yanukoych, a pro-Russian candidate, postponed the signing of the agreement and was ready to accept the offer from Russia of $15 billion in loans and a steep discount on natural gas prices to mitigate the financial trouble of Ukraine. The opposition backed by west, took this action as a perfect excuse to throw out a pro-Russian ruler from the power. One can back this by the fact that even after the compromise agreement between Mr. Yanukovych and the opposition (brokered by foreign ministers from Germany, Russia and Poland along with a Russian envoy), riot failed to cease. The parliament removed him from the power and appointed a new acting president from the opposition.

The former Prime Minister Yulia V. Tymoshenko (a pro-EU candidate) announces the candidacy for
President of Ukraine. Spending two and a half years in jail (accused for the wrong use of power by Mr. Yanukovych's government), she seems to be the perfect candidate to be field and win the votes of pro-EU sentiments in the western Ukraine.

2) A piece of land to Russia:

Mr. Putin, looking at the future of Ukraine as being dragged into the ever expanding US commanded NATO military web, took the invitation of the then President Mr. Yanukovych to install troops into Crimea. The Russian troops quickly overran Crimea, which has an ethnic Russian majority, taking over government and military facilities on the pretext of protecting Russians.

It seems that even after the ongoing talks among US, EU and Russia, Crimea - now with Russia after March 21 - will remain forever with Russia. One can say, Russia is in a blank win-win situation and it is just stretching the game to stay a winner. Because if it will stop right now, west may force it to leave even Crimea after the eastern part of Ukraine, the action which Mr. Putin will never eat.

What U.S. will get? May be a new NATO member!

3) The sanctions on Russia:

Asset freezes and travel bans of listed Russian officials, cancellation of G8 meet to be held in Sochi, ousting of Russia from the group of powerful eight industrialized democracy and threats of future sanctions are all what US bombed on Kremlin to stop Mr. Putin from stretching its leg towards Ukraine.

Well, the result of these sanctions are quite thoughtful for Moscow as it resulted into few not so good things like Visa and MasterCard have cut off their processing services, Micex stock index has lost 13 percent and the ruble is down 8.4 percent against the dollar since November 21, investors pulled out $5.5 billion from Russian equities this year through March 20, borrowing cost has increased and S&P's and Fitch Ratings rated the world's biggest energy exporter at BBB.

All the sanctions and the consequences have created a negative perception of Russia's economy and seems
quite enough for Mr. Obama to bring Mr. Putin on the table for talks.

But Russia's focus on mirror image sanctions -  issue of travel ban on nine U.S. government officials or retaliatory sanctions on thirteen Canadians - reveals something else of Kremlin. In the words of Mr. Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, "In any case, Russia's reaction to these lists (the blacklist created by U.S.)  will be based on a reciprocity principle and will not be long in coming."

Whatever the two sides are upto, but one thing is sure that difference of economic force of the EU and the US and that of Russia will make Russians face harsher music. According to few analysts, Russia may dip into a recessionary phase in the second and third quarters of this year due to poor financial conditions.

4) The single master attitude of United States:

One important talk in the air nowadays is, United States is playing the game of divide and rule (not literally, but to some extent) between EU and Russia. If you follow the steps of USA from the beginning (like helping in congress-approved finance and IMF loans to anti-Russian unit in Ukraine, staying ahead in calling for sanctions against Mr. Putin's government or the endorsement of 'unity' between the US and Europe and 'isolation' for Russia), you can find that it has always tried to play on Mr. Putin staying behind the NATO bar.

After the Nuland's (Victoria Nuland: Assistant Secretary of State of European and Eurasian Affairs at US Dept. of State) recorded statement, "F**k the EU", few analysts also suggested that US is using the destabilization in Ukraine to obstruct the friendly relationship between EU and Russia.

Whether it is Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan or Ukraine, US has always acted as a single master in the game. The thing which always bugged Russia and left it feeling cheated by the US government.

5) The energy war: 

Russian pipeline - through Ukraine - supplies a third of the EU's energy imports. Europe can hamper its energy fulfillment if it comes in-front in taking punitive actions against Mr. Putin.

But after the two switch offs - one in 2006 and another in 2009 - in the gas supply from Russia, Europe is
almost ready with the alternative energy sources in Norway and Nigeria. Also, if U.S. reduces export restrictions on natural gas, it can economically cut Russia down (oil and gas trade accounts for half of Russia's annual export revenue and more than half of Russia's federal budget. Russia is making roughly $ 100 million a day from hydrocarbons).

Russia's gas price hike by 80% has completely disturbed the Western backed leaders of Ukraine too. The interim Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatseniuk said if the flow is reversed, gas price will be $150 lower than Russian gas in Ukraine.

Well, we have to see where this war takes the situation.

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