Ukraine’s economy is in a tailspin, and the country’s fiscal health has deteriorated to the point that Moscow is now requiring prepayment for the gas it sends Kiev’s way. But don’t fret, Russian President Vladimir Putin has a solution: Europe should shore up its eastern neighbor’s finances. Reuters reports:
“The Russian Federation is still open to continue consultations and work together with European countries in order to stabilise the situation,” Putin said in a declaration to foreign leaders.“We also hope that the European Commission will more actively engage in the dialogue in order to work out specific and fair solutions that will help stabilise the Ukrainian economy.”
What Vlad is really asking here is for Europe to pay Ukraine’s sizable gas debts—and future bills—for it. This could be Moscow’s endgame: continue to gouge Ukraine with expensive natural gas sales with the expectation that Brussels will cover Kiev’s debts. Much of Europe’s gas transits Ukraine, anyways, and a Ukrainian gas shut-off could affect the entire continent’s gas supply.Putin wants to get the baby while Europe pays the bills.