I guess we should not be surprised by the vicious Putin's perfidy. Witness his killing of Litvinenko, Umar Israilov and Yandarbiev and a host of other defectors and enemies as well as independent journalists like Daniel McGrory.
He is an evil man. It is my fervent hope that Ukraine and a united west will cause him to rethink his expansionist plans of conquest. His toying with the idea of unleashing a nuclear strategy might just ultimately turn Moscow into a parking lot.The Kremlin’s Gas Wars,
In theory, the European Union has a significant advantage in its economic relationship with Russia. Russia relies on European markets for more than half of its exports, whereas the European Union sends only five percent of its exports to Russia. This disparity reflects a difference in size—the EU’s economy is ten times larger than Russia’s—and differing exposure to international trade. Russia is poorly integrated into the global economy and, despite the buzz around a growing rapprochement between Beijing and Moscow, it would have difficulty replacing lost EU export revenue with revenue from Chinese markets.Conversely, no EU country sends more than 20 percent of its exports to Russia. Although Bulgaria, Estonia, and Lithuania are most exposed to trade shocks, their exports to Russia account for only three, three, and six percent of their GDP, respectively. Russia is even less important for large economies such as those of France, Germany, and Italy, accounting for between one and two percent of their total exports. Any potential Russian countersanctions targeting EU imports would therefore have only marginal effects.Energy is a different story, however. Natural gas has long been recognized as Russia’s most potent economic leverage in Europe, and it remains so despite the EU’s efforts to reduce its reliance on Russian supplies. Moscow’s ability to exploit that reliance could be exacerbated by wide disparities among member states’ needs. Belgium, France, and the Netherlands import less than ten percent of their natural gas from Russia; Spain and Portugal import none. Germany, by contrast, relies on Moscow for about half of its natural gas imports, and Italy around 40 percent. For Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Slovakia, the figure is roughly 60 percent, and for Poland, 80 percent. Bulgaria relies on Russia for all of its natural gas.
I thought that this was a stupid kerfuffle - CBS Journalist Apologizes For Saying Ukraine More 'Civilized' Than Iraq, Afghanistan. Talk about political correctness. The Muslim countries are offended because a journalist spoke the truth from Kyiv.
“This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades.”
“This is a relatively civilized, relatively European — I have to choose those words carefully, too — city, where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen,” he said.