‘Sudden’ Sanctions on Russia Could Have Big Energy-Supply Impact: US Plus China Plus Minsk 2 Deal (2)

–Could Also Mean Sudden Natgas Price Jump: CarrZee
–USA confident on energy supply mitigation
–10% drop in European gas price on Feb. 1


Feb. 2, 2022: See here for link: State Dept. official spokesman Ned Price — Feb. 1

A “sudden” reaction to any invasion by Russia of Ukraine could be felt around the world, including on energy supply, according to a State Dept. official answering questions Feb. 1.

Yet, there’s confidence from the USA side there can be mitigation of any impact.

Here is an interesting bit of the press conference linked above:

QUESTION: Ned, were you able to achieve an agreement with Qatar regarding providing Europe with gas in case of (inaudible)?

MR PRICE: This is something, when we talk about the contingency planning that we do – not necessarily in the vein of defense and deterrence, but in the vein of prudent planning – that we have discussed with a number of energy-producing countries around the world.

We know that the strength, we know that the severity, we know that the suddenness of the measures that we are prepared to put in place on the Russian Federation could have impacts well beyond Russia, including in terms of energy supplies.

And so that’s why we have had regular, frequent, substantive conversations with countries around the world on how we might mitigate some of those impacts, and we believe – we certainly believe we’ll be in a position to do so.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

China on Ukraine: Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on January 28, 2022:

TASS: Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said that the United States on Thursday called on China to use its influence with Russia to urge a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis. Do you have any comments on this?

Zhao Lijian: China’s position on Ukraine is consistent and clear and stays unchanged. To solve the Ukrainian issue, it is necessary to return to the starting point of the Minsk-2 agreement, which is endorsed by the UN Security Council. As a fundamental political document recognized by all sides, the agreement should be earnestly implemented. China will support all efforts in keeping with the direction and spirit of this agreement. In the meantime, we call on all sides to stay cool-headed and avoid doing things that will escalate the tensions and hype up the crisis. 

Hubei Media Group: US President Biden said on January 25 that if Russia were to move in with all those forces it had deployed on the Russia-Ukraine border, “it’d be the largest invasion since World War II. It would change the world.” The US government stated that it would provide additional USD 200 million defensive military assistance to Ukraine. Recently, some Western media and politicians have been propagating the theory that the Russian “invasion” of Ukraine is imminent. What is China’s comment? 

Zhao Lijian: We have noted relevant reports. Creating tensions does no good to easing the Ukraine crisis, but only adds more uncertainties to the region and the whole world. China is firmly opposed to this.

It has always been the common appeal of the international community that we should choose dialogue over confrontation, solidarity over division, and peace over war. Under the current circumstances, we call on all relevant parties to ease the tension as much as possible, avoid escalation of the situation, stop stirring up trouble and inciting opposition and confrontation.

China always advocates that relevant countries’ security concerns and security initiatives should be treated in a balanced and fair manner. We hope all parties can work together and properly resolve differences through dialogue and consultation to promote global strategic balance and stability.

(Adds China, Chatham, tweaks headline)



The Minsk Conundrum: Western Policy and Russia’s War in Eastern Ukraine

The Minsk agreements rest on two irreconcilable interpretations of Ukraine’s sovereignty: is Ukraine sovereign, as Ukrainians insist, or should its sovereignty be limited, as Russia demands? Instead of trying to resolve an unresolvable contradiction, Western policymakers should acknowledge the starkness of the Minsk conundrum.


  • The Minsk agreements of September 2014 and February 2015, which sought to end Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine, rest on two irreconcilable interpretations of Ukraine’s sovereignty – what could be called the ‘Minsk conundrum’: is Ukraine sovereign, as Ukrainians insist, or should its sovereignty be limited, as Russia demands?
  • Ukraine sees the agreements as instruments with which to re-establish its sovereignty in line with the following sequence: a ceasefire; a Russian withdrawal from eastern Ukraine; return of the Russia/Ukraine border to Ukrainian control; free and fair elections in the Donbas region; and a limited devolution of power to Russia’s proxy regimes, which would be reintegrated and resubordinated to the authorities in Kyiv. Ukraine would be able to make its own domestic and foreign policy choices.
  • Russia sees the Minsk agreements as tools with which to break Ukraine’s sovereignty. Its interpretation reverses key elements in the sequence of actions: elections in occupied Donbas would take place before Ukraine had reclaimed control of the border; this would be followed by comprehensive autonomy for Russia’s proxy regimes, crippling the central authorities in Kyiv. Ukraine would be unable to govern itself effectively or orient itself towards the West.
  • These contradictory provisions are testimony to a stunning failure of Russian foreign policy. In 2014 Russia launched a campaign of violent subversion to compel Ukraine to ‘federalize’ its political system. Belying Russian expectations, Ukrainians fought back en masse, forcing Russia to resort to increasingly open military intervention. Russia inflicted crushing defeats on Ukrainian forces, yet was unwilling to pay the price that further high-intensity war would have exacted.
  • Western views on how to implement the Minsk agreements are imprecise and inconsistent. One prevalent view is that implementation means finding a mid-point between the Russian and Ukrainian positions. However, attempts to do so have failed – heaping pressure on Ukraine, risking political instability in Kyiv, and not leading to any discernible change in Russian policy. Instead of trying to resolve an unresolvable contradiction, Western policymakers should acknowledge the starkness of the Minsk conundrum.
  • An alternative approach would make the defence of Ukraine’s sovereignty the unambiguous premise of Western policy. It would view the Minsk and Normandy processes mainly as conflict management tools. In line with the priority attached to upholding Ukraine’s sovereignty, Western governments would meanwhile maintain support for long-term political and economic reform in Ukraine, using the EU/Ukraine Association Agreement as the anchor.
  • This approach would also encourage the authorities in Kyiv to engage more inclusively with those living in occupied Donbas. Yet it would proceed from the assumption that the region should not be legally reincorporated into Ukraine for the foreseeable future. Finally, this approach would logically entail a lengthy stand-off with Russia over Ukraine – a prospect that many decision-makers in the West would find troubling and unnerving.


(Clarified on July 8, 2022 to smooth this sentence: “Yet, there’s confidence from the USA side there can be mitigation of any impact.”)

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