Sunday, January 11, 2009

Russia's Cold War Heats Up

BREAKING: Ukraine and Russia have (again) come to an agreement over natural gas, which Russia cut of last week. Millions in Europe are without heat as a result. What Russia giveth, Russia taketh away. Then giveth, then taketh, then giveth. Natural gas, used by millions to heat their homes and businesses, was shut off last Wednesday by Russia in a political dispute with Ukraine. The innocent still suffer as a result. Now, late word that an agreement was been reached has been deflated by even later word that Moscow is being stubborn. The tennis-style volleying in all of this has been dizzying. Oh, but wait - the dizziness get worse. LATE BREAKING NEWS is that Ukraine "has agreed to sign a new version of an accord to authorize monitoring of natural gas flows, paving the way to resume Russian gas shipments through the country to the rest of Europe, a European Union official said. Oy. Let's hope this agreement holds." (Source: Meanwhile, 12 European nations continue to shiver, and there is more danger than mere frostbite. Fears are raised now that Slovakia, one of the 12 nations denied gas by Russia, will reactivate an old Soviet-style nuclear generator that has a history of safety problems. Twelve countries continued to receive no Russian gas as a result of Moscow’s claims that Ukraine was stealing supplies being piped across its land to other parts of Europe. Russia stopped deliveries of gas to Ukraine on New Year’s Day after a row over unpaid bills and new payment rates, and turned off all supplies through Ukraine last Wednesday. (Source: There are no winners in this political dispute, which is endangering lives, ruining businesses, and undoubtedly causing deaths. Not only might the Slovaks fire up that rickety old nuke plant, old fashioned smog is now a problem in parts of Europe. Desperate for heat and cooking fuel, people are burning coal, wood, paper, anything to substitute for the gas denied them by Russia. In the gas war between Russia and Ukraine, both sides are licking their wounds after 10 days of fighting. Although it appears the pumping of gas will resume and the impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands shivering and worried in the freezing winter in southern Europe should quickly pass, the damage done politically and economically to both warring parties will resist any quick fix. (Source: This is why the United States needs to drill more and produce more domestically. RELATED: Budapest traffic restrictions to counter pollution from gas crisis Report: Serbs protest Russian gas shortage Oil hovers above $40 as investors eye US earnings Why Russia Stokes Mideast Mayhem Subscribe to Chicago News Bench