Broad Oak: your emotional support animal

Monday, July 07, 2014

Ukraine and Russia: as I said



Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge today (7 July):

"... As we remarked two weeks ago, when observing the recent developments surrounding the suddenly all-important South Stream gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine ...

"should Russia find a way to completely bypass Kiev as a traditional transit hub for Russian gas, it would make the country, and its ongoing civil war, completely irrelevant not only for Russia, but worse, for Europe, the IMF, and Ukraine's staunch western "supporters and allies" as well...

"[he quotes Itar-Tass] Gazprom.. aim to diversify routes for exporting natural gas and exclude transit risks..."

I differ slightly from Durden on the relevance of Ukraine, because (a) the Brotherhood line that feeds Blue Stream and the proposed South Stream, crosses Ukraine, (b) Soyuz and Blue Stream cross in eastern Ukraine, and (c) South Stream, a subspur of Blue Stream, will pass close to the southern shore of Crimea.

South and Blue Streams don't have enough capacity between them to completely compensate for the potential loss of  Brotherhood and Soyuz in central/western Ukraine, but it would be a start, provided S&B were made secure from seizure or destruction.

So from the Russian perspective, not only had Crimea to fall and remain in Russian hands, but the bitter struggle in eastern Ukraine must end with a stalemate somewhere west of those transiting energy lines:

 
why the extreme east of Ukraine is a key piece in the Russian strategy


As I was saying four months ago...

March 17: Naval infrastructure development on the Black Sea under the guise of Olympic preparation... strategic importance of South Stream pipeline... eastern Ukraine set for takeover ("...  South Stream crosses a bit of the extreme eastern part of Ukraine, but a little territorial snipping - a land purchase, maybe? - could put that right")... purchase of gas pipelines in Greece by proxy... and some further speculations...

March 19: Ukraine protests a pretext for Russian seizure of eastern Ukraine ("was the whole thing set up by Russia in the first place, to provoke a crisis aimed at the annexation of Crimea, near which will run the South Stream gas pipeline? - and possibly, in due course, eastern Ukraine, which is also predominantly Russian-speaking and across which runs Blue Stream?")... vulnerability of Russian gas and oil lines through Belarus and Ukraine... "some of the South Stream construction contracts were signed last Friday [March14]"... importance of Nord Stream also...

March 29: Historical struggle between US/EU and Russia for control of the Black Sea...

April 28: Russia's possible long-term strategy: an "eastern EU" centred on western Russia and connecting the Black and Caspian Seas, the Middle East and Asia.. Russia under heavy pressure to maintain economic momentum...


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