Though the fighting may be slowing down between Ukraine and the Russian back separatists there is no shortage of rhetoric between Russia and Ukraine. Russia is threatening retaliation against Ukraine for the signing a trade agreement with the European Union on September 12. Russia argues “the pact would lead to a flood of EU imports entering Russia and undercut Russian exports to Ukraine” this lead to the packed being delayed until 2016 to allow for both sides to adjust to the changing economic and trade atmosphere between the two countries.
The threat of Russia using military force as a means of adjusting trade agreements is a form of tying their hands because they are laying out a clear message of this is what could happen if the agreement between the European Union and Ukraine is not amended to protect Russia’s trading, and economic interests in Ukraine. It does not leave much room for compromise between the groups because of the fact that Russia has moved to such an extreme position, that it forces the EU and Ukraine to amend the start date of their trade agreement to 2016.
Another tactic currently being employed by Russia to influence Ukraine’s decision making is the Russian natural gas company Gazprom threatening to cut off gas supplies entering Ukraine. A cut in the gas supply to Ukraine has bigger implications than just Ukraine; it would lead to a gas shortage for many European countries, as their gas supply lines come from the Ukraine. Though both countries would suffer, the loss of revenue and market for Russia and the lack of gas for Ukraine and Europe, both a willing to lose in order to not bend to the others will.
There is growing dissent among some Russians on how these implications will hurt Russia in the long run and how Russia could fall into a deep recession. Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin is one of the public figures speaking out about Russia’s handling of the crisis with Ukraine.
“There will be stagnation, like now. There could be recession. We will be balancing on the edge of recession all the time… depressed economic growth will be exacerbated by isolation from global markets.”
The inability for either side to cooperate is leading to an ever growing gap between the two parties making it difficult for a long term solution to the aggression both militarily and economically can be solved. Both sides seem far apart on a solution that could lead to a lose- lose situation, and hard time for both countries, and Europe as a whole.