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President Vladimir Putin's Letter to Leaders of European CountriesDebbie Menon Special to Salem-News.com
President Vladimir Putin is obviously not giving into the World Order that Washington wants. He talks big… he talks tough… he talks sense!
(DUBAI) - Editor’s Note: Western and especially the American mass media never gives objective coverage of events in Russia and never give an unbiased account of the aims or basis of Russia’s domestic and foreign policy. They “control” or “censor” what the public read.
President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are proving to be rational leaders and true statesmen compared to their pathetic counterparts in the US, France, Germany and Britain. The US Foreign Policy is irrational.They want countries to be subservient to them and they don’t want Israel’s actions or ambitions questioned in the Middle East.
Some of the academics are beginning to speak up but tinker at the edges of truth and won’t address the real gravity of the situation. President Vladimir Putin is obviously not giving into the World Order that Washington wants. He talks big… he talks tough… he talks sense!
Obama, in his campaign talked big… he talked tough… he talked sensibly, and hopefully… inspirationally! Look what he has done!
American media’s relentless demonizing of President Putin is backfiring. President Putin’s approval ratings hits a three year high and have risen to 88% (The Independent and BBC reported) in the past week, as Russians back their president over Ukraine, a height western leaders can only dream of.
Putin to EU, Pastries on Maidan not enough to save Ukraine's economy from total chaos:
“It goes without saying that Russia is prepared to participate in the effort to stabilize and restore Ukraine’s economy, however, not in a unilateral way, but on equal conditions with our European partners.” writes President Putin.
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Russia – April 10, 18:38 UTC+4
The text of the letter was obtained by ITAR – TASS on April 10
Ukraine’s economy in the past several months has been plummeting. Its industrial and construction sectors have also been declining sharply. Its budget deficit is mounting.
The condition of its currency system is becoming more and more deplorable. The negative trade balance is accompanied by the flight of capital from the country. Ukraine’s economy is steadfastly heading towards a default, a halt in production and skyrocketing unemployment.
Russia and the EU member states are Ukraine’s major trading partners. Proceeding from this, at the Russia-EU Summit at the end of January, we came to an agreement with our European partners to hold consultations on the subject of developing Ukraine’s economy, bearing in mind the interests of Ukraine and our countries while forming integration alliances with Ukraine’s participation. However, all attempts on Russia’s part to begin real consultations failed to produce any results.
Instead of consultations, we hear appeals to lower contractual prices on Russian natural gas – prices which are allegedly of a “political” nature. One gets the impression that the European partners want to unilaterally blame Russia for the consequences of Ukraine’s economic crisis.
Right from day one of Ukraine’s existence as an independent state, Russia has supported the stability of the Ukrainian economy by supplying it with natural gas at cut-rate prices. In January 2009, with the participation of the then-premier Yulia Tymoshenko, a purchase-and-sale contract on supplying natural gas for the period of 2009-2019 was signed.
The contract regulated questions concerning the delivery of and payment for the product, and it also provided guarantees for its uninterrupted transit through the territory of Ukraine. What is more, Russia has been fulfilling the contract according to the letter and spirit of the document. Incidentally, Ukrainian Minister of Fuel and Energy at that time was Yuriy Prodan, who today holds a similar post in Kiev’s government.
However, the fact that after signing that contract, Russia granted Ukraine a whole string of unprecedented privileges and discounts on the price of natural gas, is quite another matter. This applies to the discount stemming from the 2010 Kharkiv Agreement, which was provided as advance payment for the future lease payments for the presence of the (Russian) Black Sea Fleet after 2017.
This also refers to discounts on the prices for natural gas purchased by Ukraine’s chemical companies. This also concerns the discount granted in December 2013 for the duration of three months due to the critical state of Ukraine’s economy. Beginning with 2009, the total sum of these discounts stands at 17 billion US dollars. To this, we should add another 18.4 billion US dollars incurred by the Ukrainian side as a minimal take-or-pay fine.
What about the European partners? Instead of offering Ukraine real support, there is talk about a declaration of intent. There are only promises that are not backed by any real actions. The European Union is using Ukraine’s economy as a source of raw foodstuffs, metal and mineral resources, and at the same time, as a market for selling its highly-processed ready-made commodities (machine engineering and chemicals), thereby creating a deficit in Ukraine’s trade balance amounting to more than 10 billion US dollars. This comes to almost two-thirds of Ukraine’s overall deficit for 2013.
To a large extent, the crisis in Ukraine’s economy has been precipitated by the unbalanced trade with the EU member states, and this, in turn has had a sharply negative impact on Ukraine’s fulfillment of its contractual obligations to pay for deliveries of natural gas supplied by Russia. Gazprom neither has intentions except for those stipulated in the 2009 contract nor plans to set any additional conditions.
This also concerns the contractual price for natural gas, which is calculated in strict accordance with the agreed formula. However, Russia cannot and should not unilaterally bear the burden of supporting Ukraine’s economy by way of providing discounts and forgiving debts, and in fact, using these subsidies to cover Ukraine’s deficit in its trade with the EU member states.
The debt of NAK Naftogaz Ukraine for delivered gas has been growing monthly this year. In November-December 2013 this debt stood at 1.451,5 billion US dollars; in February 2014 it increased by a further 260.3 million and in March by another 526.1 million US dollars. Here I would like to draw your attention to the fact that in March there was still a discount price applied, i.e., 268.5 US dollars per 1,000 cubic meters of gas. And even at that price, Ukraine did not pay a single dollar.
Undoubtedly, this is an extreme measure. We fully realize that this increases the risk of siphoning off natural gas passing through Ukraine’s territory and heading to European consumers. We also realize that this may make it difficult for Ukraine to accumulate sufficient gas reserves for use in the autumn and winter period.
In order to guarantee uninterrupted transit, it will be necessary, in the nearest future, to supply 11.5 billion cubic meters of gas that will be pumped into Ukraine’s underground storage facilities, and this will require a payment of about 5 billion US dollars.
However, the fact that our European partners have unilaterally withdrawn from the concerted efforts to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, and even from holding consultations with the Russian side, leaves Russia no alternative.
There can be only one way out of the situation that has developed. We believe it is vital to hold, without delay, consultations at the level of ministers of economics, finances and energy in order to work out concerted actions to stabilize Ukraine’s economy and to ensure delivery and transit of Russian natural gas in accordance with the terms and conditions set down in the contract.
We must lose no time in beginning to coordinate concrete steps. It is towards this end that we appeal to our European partners.
It goes without saying that Russia is prepared to participate in the effort to stabilize and restore Ukraine’s economy, however, not in a unilateral way, but on equal conditions with our European partners. It is also essential to take into account the actual investments, contributions and expenditures that Russia has shouldered by itself alone for such a long time in supporting Ukraine.
As we see it, only such an approach would be fair and balanced, and only such an approach can lead to success.
Debbie Menon is an independent writer based in Dubai. An advocate for Justice and Peace for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Her main focus is US-Middle East Policy issues while writing cutting edge commentary for today's growing number of Internet news viewers seeking unfiltered information about real events. She is committed to exposing Israel Lobbies control of U.S. Middle East Policy. Her Website, mycatbirdseat.com, is a source for many other Salem-News.com reports.
Debbie has a fresh perspective in her interpretation of historical events and their relationship to today's current news developments between Palestine and Israel. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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