There were a couple of points which deserve to be passed on as “thinking points” because they may be telling us something about how future events will play out.
First, he expressed concern about the number of nuclear power plants that are operating in Ukraine (six) and the number of reactors (17). Recalling that this is the region of Chernobyl, he said Russia (which is obviously downwind) has legitimate security concerns.
But in terms of the basis for the conflict, he said that Russia was not to fault. It was the now deposed president who had held up to the public the prospects of close alliances with the EU but which then – without explaining it to the public – pulled the plug and that led people onto the streets.
In the meantime, however, he said Russia would not be sending their military to Ukraine, but noted that Russian officials are holding meeting in the region.
He said that those who promoted violence were, in many cases, people who held extreme views (proposing stripping Jews and Russians of Ukrainian citizenship) and holding the view that a legitimate government has yet to announce its plans.
Elsewhere (flipping across some of the non-US FTA media) the imagine come across that while government changer may have been the result of the radicals, they do not have a legitimate claim to government and the Russians are watching to see how all this works out.
But, in the meantime, he cautioned, that Russia doesn’t want to see a return to the Cold War mentality and noted that Ukraine needs leadership for tomorrow, not a group which is tied to the mistakes of the past. He cited examples like Finland which could both participate in ways with the EU but also have economic ties to Russia as an example of how countries can get along if that’s what they’re after…
(I may post more on this now and then, but the markets don’t seem terribly worried about current prospects as a modest rally continues in today’s trading…)