A Full Year of Ukraine Crisis

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Fifteen thousand casualties, which includes over five thousand dead, and a country in ruins. And it didn't have to be this way.

This week, John and Steve recap the events of the past year and remind everyone of just how disastrous this "revolution" has been for the people of Ukraine. If you have the time this holiday weekend, please give this entire podcast a listen. I know you're busy, though, with family and friends. Therefore, if anything, try to carve out some time to listen to the first 10 minutes.

In just those first 10 minutes, Professor Cohen:

  • Revisits the origin of the crisis
  • Discusses the changes to US/NATO relations
  • Assesses the New Cold War
  • Describes how these events have led to a new Russia/China alliance (which, ultimately, brings us all closer to The End of The Great Keynesian Experiment)

Again, more on Professor Steve Cohen can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_F._Cohen

And more information of John Batchelor's nightly radio program can be found here: http://johnbatchelorshow.com



silver66's picture

Some one has got to do it


silly but it is nice that the tradition can continue.


Kismet's picture


It's a great tradition! Got to have fun while navigating through the unknown. Happy T-Day.

Dr Jerome's picture


First and second mean little if we don't pile in behind you with a 3rd, 4th, 5th etc.

I am still aghast that the West does not see that the US is the primary instigator of this crisis, and trying to paint Putin as the next Hitler. But in this case, we are being the bully. Not that I praise Putin, mine you. If Ivars is correct, he has plans. But it doesn't mean that we need to start WW3 over it.

SteveW's picture

Virtual Russian sub

Here's the story about the Russian sub that Sweden was searching.


The idea of a foreign sub off Stockholm is immediately suspect as anyone who has visited Stockholm would know. Stockholm, while a port, is about 50 miles from the open Baltic. One has to traverse an archipelago of multiple islands and a narrow channel before reaching the capital city. Why would a sub go into such an exposed position? Cohen is right, its all a farce to motivate the non-aligned Scandinavian countries.


Nick Elway's picture

Holes in the narrative

Cohen states at 4:30 "Expansion of NATO the multi-year driving force behind this crisis"  and at 17:00 "NATO remains the currency in this game"

Batchelor and Cohen ignore the Jim Willie observations of additional US motives specifically: cutting off Europe from Russian gas, the theft of gold from Ukraine, and the attempt to prolong the life of the reserve currency.  

Kudos to them for identifying the Finland misinformation

Batchelor "This is about Russia believing they are under attack  and NATO believing they are under attack" 

I find this similar to "Republicans believing they are under attack and Democrats believing they are under attack" or "Tea partiers believe they are under attack and African-Americans believe they are under attack"  Everybody is right!  Cohen is right!  Jim Willie is right!  Those that believe they are under attack are right!

IMO TPTB set up (and reinforces) these "under attack" beliefs in order to maintain control and profit.   I suspect they(TPTB) are setting up a skirmish line to run more or less from Finland to  Iraq (by way of Kiev, Odessa, Turkey, and Syria)  with never-resolved tensions and forays across that line.  Perhaps their goal is perpetual conflict ala 1984.

DeaconBenjamin's picture

Ukraine banks axe services in pro-Russian regions

Ukraine’s government has begun cutting off payments and banking services to areas of the country under the control of pro-Russian rebels, in a further sign that Kiev has given up trying to control the territory.

There has been a problem with ready cash in the region for months, but Kiev’s decision to sever banking services to the region mean even credit cards will no longer work.

Journalists reported seeing long queues of people outside banks in Donetsk attempting to withdraw their money. The majority of businesses said their credit-card machines were no longer working, after Ukraine’s central bank ordered all banks to cease operations in the east.

Ukraine’s government has also said it will stop funding social services such as schools and hospitals in areas it does not control.

Winter in the major city of Donetsk and other parts of the east under separatist control is likely to be harsh for those who have remained, as industry has ground to a halt, military confrontation continues and supplies of food and energy are unreliable.

The separatist authorities have a dilemma: they have declared independence from Ukraine, but unlike with the Crimea peninsula, Russia has shown little appetite for formally taking over the east. This leaves the rebel authorities unsure where to turn for the cash to dole out benefits, pensions and other payments.

“What this means in reality is the confiscation of the pensions and benefits of our veterans, pensioners, disabled people and mothers … It is an attempt to end civilised life in the Donbass region,” said the Donetsk People’s Republic in an official statement. “We think there are no legal reasons not to pay money from the budget to people based in the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics. People living on our territories have the same rights as other citizens of Ukraine.”

Previously, the Donetsk authorities have proclaimed their territory an independent state and said they no longer wanted anything to do with Kiev. Ukraine has been setting up makeshift border posts along the line of control, a further sign that Kiev has realised it cannot win back the territory militarily.


goldcom's picture

That's right Nick

And don't forget the New World Order Crowd I'm sure didn't like this statement Putin said in an October speech.

"The builders of the New World Order have failed, having built a sand castle. Whether or not a new world order of any sort is to be built is not just Russia’s decision, but it is a decision that will not be made without Russia."

DeaconBenjamin's picture

Le Pen forced to justify €9m loan from Russia

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s cash-strapped far-right National Front (FN), on Sunday justified her party's €9 million loan from a Russian Bank saying it was needed to beef up their war chest ahead of local elections, saying “French banks won’t lend to us”.

The loan, from Moscow-based First Czech Russian Bank (FCRB), was signed in September and was first revealed by French investigative website Mediapart on Saturday.

In an interview with French daily Le Monde, Le Pen said her party had had no choice but go to a Russian bank for funds, with the departmental elections coming up early next year.

“It’s scandalous, the French banks won’t lend to us,” she said, insisting that the fact that the bank is Russian had nothing to do with the party’s choice of lender.

“We had thrown out hooks everywhere: in Spain, Italy, the United States, Asia and Russia. And we signed with the first one who agreed and we’re very happy about it,” she told Le Monde.

The National Front’s treasurer Wallerand de Saint-Just told French radio broadcaster France Info about the party’s financial woes, confirming also the difficulties in securing funds from French banks. “No bank wants to give us a cent,” he said.

“I reached out to a large number of French and European banks and I got some replies, but they were always negative.” 

The National Front's bank Société Générale said in November that it would no longer be mending any money to the political party.

“We have been looking for loans for some time, to fund our election campaigns. But our bank, like most French and European lenders, categorically refuses to give the FN and FN candidates the slightest cent,” Saint-Just said.

Speculation persists however that there may be something more sinister behind the National Front's Russian bank loan, which comes at a time when ties between the the EU and Moscow are strained due to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

It also comes as a report was published in Moscow that laid out how Vladimir Putin could help influence internal politics in EU member states by bolstering far right parties, like the National Front.

The report, seen by German media, suggested Russia could make loans to far-right parties, which like the National Front in France, have a pro-Putin and pro-Moscow stance.

In France, Le Pen however rejected claims from critics suggesting the move had political implications in the sense that the FN is trying to firm up its relationship with Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

“Ridiculous,” she said, adding “these insinuations are outrageous and offensive. That obtaining a loan would determine our international stance. We’ve held that (pro-Russian) line for a long time,” she said.

Le Pen doesn't hide her respect for the Russian leader, and was quoted by Le Monde in September as saying she has “a certain admiration for the man. He proposes a patriotic economic model, radically different from what the Americans are imposing on us”.

In recent weeks Le Pen has also criticized the French government for bowing to pressure from the US and Nato by refusing to deliver a warship to Moscow.

“I don’t believe the National Front’s story that they are penniless.

“It’s true French banks won’t lend them money but if they want to borrow money there are banks around the world, not just in Russia.

“This is a case of Russia or Putin trying to send a message to governments in EU countries to say ‘be careful with your position towards Russia because if you don’t support us we will support parties who are a threat to you.

“It’s basically a kind of blackmail.”

“It’s not a wise move on the part of Russia, because the French public, many of whom are sympathetic to the Russian position on Ukraine, do not like foreign countries meddling in their politics. So they will lose potential support.

“As for the National Front, their supporters don’t care where the money comes from. They were pro-Russian before. They like the idea of a strong man with an iron will and Putin certainly fits that description.

“The French government will no doubt be worried by any attempt to influence internal politics. It may influence their own decision on whether or not to deliver the two mistral ships to Moscow.


DeaconBenjamin's picture

German FM: 'Crimea Will Remain a Source of Conflict'

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier: "Nobody, SPIEGEL included, should be afraid of the fact that debate in democracies is spirited at times." 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a master at keeping her cool, even when the pressure becomes almost unbearable. This may explain why a speech she gave at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, immediately following the G-20 summit in Brisbane, turned so many heads. Her comments in Sydney were the clearest indication yet that she is losing patience with Russia. "Outdated thnking in terms of spheres of influence which tramples international law underfoot must not be allowed to prevail," she said. "Russia is violating the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of Ukraine."

During the audience discussion after the speech, Merkel warned that "we're not just talking about Ukraine. We're talking about Moldavia, about Georgia. If things go on, we'll be talking about Serbia and the Western Balkans."

Coming as it did just hours after an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin was aired on German television, the speech was seen as a direct and forceful response. And it seemed to make German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier uncomfortable. It is important, he said not long after Merkel's comments, "that in our use of language in public, we do not eliminate our chances of contributing to the easing of tensions and to the mitigation of conflict."

SPIEGEL: Many understood your appeal to tone down the rhetoric against Russia as a criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel following the clear comments she made in Sydney after the G-20 summit. Which parts of her speech did you find objectionable?

Steinmeier: That is really far-fetched! It does justice neither to the seriousness of the crisis nor to the legitimate questions addressed by summits like Brisbane to try to turn them into a problem within the German government. What I find imprudent is when summits like this, which offer a last chance for direct and perhaps confidential talks, are treated as an open forum.

SPIEGEL: But with your tone, you clearly distanced yourself from Merkel and the chancellor is prepared to strengthen the sanctions against Putin. Are you as well?

Steinmeier: Again, our position is clear. Our policies, and thus our decisions on sanctions, are a consequence of our assessment of the situation. And it will remain that way. On Monday (Nov. 17), European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels issued instructions to identify those responsible among the separatists in eastern Ukraine and add them to the list because they are riding roughshod over Ukraine's territorial integrity. That is what was necessary in the current situation and it is, above all, the collective position of the German government.

SPIEGEL: In Germany and the European Union, the discussion over how to deal with Putin is more controversial than ever. Do you not believe that Western unity may be in danger?

Steinmeier: Nobody, SPIEGEL included, should be afraid of the fact that debate in democracies is spirited at times. It is, in fact, a misjudgment made by autocratic regimes to see that as a weakness. In the EU, 28 countries come together with totally different historical experiences leading to different perceptions and objectively different degrees of concern. Nevertheless, we have always been able to arrive at a unified position and to see it through. I will fight to keep it that way.


DeaconBenjamin's picture

Diverging Interests in Europe

Within the European Union, the interests of the 28 member states are diverging in what are becoming increasingly clear ways. Taking a tough stance against Russia is generally less important to southern Europeans than it is to eastern Europeans. In the past, the German government had sought to serve as a bridge between the two camps. But in Berlin itself these days, significant differences in the assessment of the situation are starting to emerge within the coalition government pairing Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD). It's one that pits Christian Democrat leaders like Merkel and Horst Seehofer, who heads the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), against Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of the SPD and Social Democratic Party boss Sigmar Gabriel, who is the economics minister.

Map: Russia's Areas of InfluenceMap: Russia's Areas of Influence

"The greatest danger is that we allow division to be sown between us," the chancellor said last Monday in Sydney. And it's certainly true to say that this threat is greater at present than at any other time since the crisis began. Is that what the Russian president has been waiting for?

Last week, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier traveled to Moscow to visit with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. With Steinmeier standing at his side, the Russian foreign minister praised close relations between Germany and Russia. "It's good my dear Frank-Walter that, despite the numerous rumors of recent days, you hold on to our personal contact." Steinmeier reciprocated by not publically criticizing contentious issues like Russian weapons deliveries to Ukrainian separatists. Afterwards, Vladimir Putin received him, a rare honor. It was a prime example of just how the Russian strategy works.

United Assessments, Divided Approaches

The German foreign minister is professional enough not to be surprised by the Russian kindness. Even as the chancellor sharply attacked Putin during her appearance in Sydney, saying the West shouldn't be "too conflict averse," Steinmeier struck a far softer tone on the same day in Brussels. Without mentioning Merkel by name, Steinmeier urged for a bit more restraint in public statements, saying the West had to be careful to make sure "that in our use of language in public, we do not eliminate our chances of contributing to the easing of tensions and to the mitigation of conflict."

When he said that, the foreign minister knew that there was a chance he might get a meeting with Putin. As such, one could interpret his statements as an attempt to avoid jeopardizing his possible appointment with the Russian president at the Kremlin.

Still, the statements marked the first time any fissures had become visible in the joint position vis-a-vis Moscow held by Steinmeier and Chancellor Merkel. They are united in their assessment of Russia's actions, but their views differ on the best way to face the Russians in the coming weeks. That, though, has long since become the all-important question.

Merkel considers it to be crucial to make clear to Putin publicly how his conduct is viewed in the West and just what is at stake. She believes that the Russian president will only respond to clear statements -- if he bothers to respond at all.

Her approach is based on the concern that pro-Russian separatists may seek to divide eastern Ukraine for the long run and that the West will have to resign itself to that development. If that happens, then Russia will now have succeeded with its strategy for the third time since the end of the Soviet Union. Both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, breakaway republics that are part of Georgian territory, are under Russian control, as is the Transnistria region of Moldavia. The consequence being that neither country is able to join NATO because the military alliance stipulates that any member state must have previously resolved all border disputes with its neighbors prior to accession.


DeaconBenjamin's picture

Crimean Tatars reproach Turkey for not imposing sanctions on Rus

Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian Parliament lawmaker Mustafa Abdulcemil Kırımoğlu. AA Photo

Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian Parliament lawmaker Mustafa Abdulcemil Kırımoğlu. AA Photo

Turkey should follow the West and impose sanctions on Russia, the leader of the Crimean Tatars has said during a visit to Ankara, reproaching his hosts for continuing trade with Moscow.

“We wish Turkey would join the sanctions imposed by Western countries [on Russia],” Crimean Tatar leader and Ukrainian Parliament lawmaker Mustafa Abdulcemil Kırımoğlu told Anadolu Agency, before his scheduled meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Nov. 25.

“Of course it wouldn’t yield results if only some countries implement sanctions, while others continue trade benefiting from this opportunity,” Kırımoğlu said, referring to Turkey’s moves to take advantage of chilled business ties between Russia and the West.

After the United States and the European Union began imposing sanctions on Russia for its role in the conflict in Ukraine, Russia retaliated with restrictions on the importation of food from the EU and other Western countries in August.

As Turkish authorities rushed to eliminate barriers on trade to boost the exchange of goods between countries, Turkey’s food exports to Russia surged over the first nine months of the year, with white meat exports, poultry and seafood increasing by 447 percent, according to figures announced by Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker on Nov. 24.

Despite reproaching Turkey’s unwillingness to impose sanctions on Russia, Kırımoğlu said he knows that “Turkey’s position is clear, supporting the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”


DeaconBenjamin's picture

Russia's Medvedev and Ukraine's Yatseniuk discuss economic ties

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev spoke with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk by telephone, the Russian government's press service said on Thursday.

Medvedev and Yatseniuk discussed financial and economic relations between Russia and Ukraine, the press service added, without elaborating.


ivars's picture

This oil drop will cause

This oil drop will cause about 6% GDP drop for Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan reducing their ruling clans claims to power and adding to the instability in the region.

They are becoming legitimate takeover targets for Russians.

ivars's picture

Great! But it won't stop

Great! But it won't stop Russia nor that is the intention. It is posturing to force Russia into conflict that will annihilate it. Putin is a gambler..not 100% rational, so he will play the game against superior force as Hitler did..until its game over. May take 6-7 years. 

DeaconBenjamin's picture

Fort Carson troops will soon deploy, 'supporting Ukraine'

By Tom Roeder Updated: November 27, 2014 at 5:44 am •

Fort Carson's 4th Infantry Division will lead an American effort to bolster European allies and deter Russian aggression, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

The post just got a team of soldiers back from Germany where they led a NATO exercise, but the new mission is wider and will last longer.

"This is not going to be a three-week or a month deployment," said a source at the post familiar with the new mission.

The Army hasn't said how long the division troops will be overseas, leaving the deployment indefinite.

U.S. European Command said that a 100-soldier team from the 16,000-soldier division will head to Europe in early 2015 to lead ground forces in "Operation Atlantic 

"Operation Atlantic Resolve is a continued demonstration of the United States' commitment to the collective security of our NATO allies and support for our partners in Europe, in light of the ongoing 
Russian intervention in Ukraine," European Command said in a news release. "The operation will remain in place as long as required to reassure our allies."

Russia's eight-month intervention in Eastern Ukraine has heated up this month with reports of increased Russian military activity including more heavy tanks.

European Command boss Gen. Phil Breedlove has been traveling the region in recent days, including a trip to show support for Ukraine.

"The U.S. is committed to supporting Ukraine through this difficult challenge," Breedlove wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. "The international community is imposing ever-tightening economic sanctions on Russia in response to its illegal annexation of Crimea and their destructive military actions and support to forces in Eastern Ukraine."

The Fort Carson soldiers will play a role in deterring Russia by building U.S. ties to allies in the region including former Soviet republics in the Baltic.

Leaders from the division will run a series of training exercises to ensure American forces are ready to fight alongside partners.

Leaders at the post are still developing plans for how they will support the open-ended troop commitment in Europe. Exact dates of when soldiers will leave haven't been announced.

The division has been redesigned in recent years and has fewer heavy tanks and artillery pieces.

The changes, though, left the division well-suited to European war, with infantry troops to tackle tough terrain, tanks to fight on open plains and eight-wheeled Stryker vehicles for urban battles.


ivars's picture

Excerpt from the speech of

Excerpt from the speech of Hitler on January 30, 1940:

For 15 years, in this democratic Germany, hope was preached, hope for a new world, for new institutions. Every side had its international patron. Some hoped for the international solidarity of the proletariat, others placed their hope in democratic international institutions, on the League of Nations in Geneva. Still others hoped for a global conscience, for a cultural conscience, etc.

All this hope was in vain. We have put a different type of hope in the place of that previous hope: the hope of the only help that exists in this world, help through one's own power. The place that hope occupied is now filled with faith in our German people, in the mobilization of its eternal inner values. Back then , we had very little real tools to help us. What we saw as the building blocks of the new Reich, besides our own will, was firstly our people's manpower, secondly the intelligence of our people, and third that which our Lebensraum has to offer, namely, our earth and soil. Thus we began our work and subsequently witnessed this internal German ascent. This internal German ascent, which did not threaten the rest of the world in any way, which was purely internal German reforms, still instantaneously managed to produce hate in others. Possibly the most tragic moment of this happening was when we proclaimed our Four-Year-Plan, an idea which should have enthused the other world: a people wanted to help itself; it did not appeal to others for aid, it did not appeal for presents, for charity, it appealed to its own creative facilities, its own diligence, its own energy, its own intelligence. And still this other world started shouting, British statesmen cried out: what do you think you're doing, this Four-Year-Plan, it does not fit into our global economy! - as if they had let us have part in this global economy. No, they scented the recovery of the German people - and because of this, because we foresaw this and because we noticed this, we immediately began, parallel to this recovery, to remobilize German power.

You know these years. 1933, so the same year, in which we took over power, I saw myself forced to withdraw from the League of Nations and to leave the ridiculous conference on disarmament. We could not receive any rights from these two forums, despite years of begging and protesting.

1934: German rearmament began on the grandest scale.

In 1935, I instituted the general draft.

In 1936 I corrected the situation of the Rhineland.

1937 was the start of the Four-Year-Plan.

In 1938, the Ostmark and the Sudetenland were annexed to the Reich.

In 1939 we began to shield the Reich against those enemies that in the meantime had removed their masks. The measured introduced in 1939 were to protect the Reich.

All this could have been different, if this other world had, even for an hour, showed understanding for the German claims, for the necessities of life of the German people. So often it is said: we should have negotiated this. You remember, my comrades, did I not on more than one occasion raise the issue of German colonial claims before the world? Did we ever receive an answer to this, except for a no, except for repudiation, indeed almost new hostility? No, in Britain and France the ruling classes were determined to renew their fight against us the moment the Reich recovered. They wanted it so. For 300 years, Britain has followed its goal of preventing Europe to fully consolidate itself, just like France has for many centuries tried to prevent Germany from full consolidation.

Sound familiar, does it not? And quite non-aggressive speech and country , defending itself vs. the picture of Britain and France. This was already after Hitler replaced some ministers, notably, the foreign minister and Defense minister in 1938. 

Hitler also had many supporters in British and other democratic societies who perceived him as fighter against global imperialism; may be he even was. But global imperialism was stronger, and will be stronger also this time. Good or bad? What are realistic alternatives given the current number of people on Earth that would avoid extinction type events? I have not heard of any. Only growth via debt can sustain this model-which has immense inertia- until peak debt is truly reached ( and peak oil at the same time) and growth is replaced by gradual decline of Western civilization ( including China who has adopted the model) and raise of Muslim civilization which does not live in the future based on debt. 

ivars's picture

After oil price will bottom -

After oil price will bottom - in few months- with current ruble value or lower, nothing can prevent Russia from turning on printing press to rearm; from history ( French assignats during French Revolution) it is known that government printed money lasts for about 7 years before complete annihilation. This puts a deadline for Putin to compensate - as French tried as well then- this printing and devaluation with asset resource looting by military force. If Russia changes its monetary regime say in early 2015, it has time till about 2020 to compensate it by entering and winning wars. If it does not change its monetary regime soon, it has already lost.

I think this change in Russian monetary regime- showing its intents to increase confrontation and the need for military aggression to keep its NEW monetary system functioning- will mark the bottom in gold. 

ivars's picture

In the end it all summarizes

In the end it all summarizes towards what will be the basis of Russian currency- if it will be nationalization of central bank and , as follows, Russian assets and resources 100% behind a paper currency, as history tells, since this will be spent on arms race, it will have a life time of 6 years , same as assignats that were backed by all property of France. Such printing in turn, demand- in order not to lose value of currency as happened with assignats- increase in currency backing in proportion to military spending- direct proportion, as , in contrast with USD, there is no leverage built in such national currency. USD can last 120-140 years depending on average interest paid on creation of money to bankers- 120 years if its 5% ( 100%/5%=20 , 20*6 = 120 years); This formula was proved already by Thomas Paine, the same, yes.  

This 1 to 1 relation between Russian ruble and available, liquid resources of Russian state (backing the currency 100%) will demand that it expands these resources or assets at the pace of its arms spending, which it can only do by occupying other countries costless. First, Ukraine; Second, divide Central Asia with China , taking Kazakhstan;  third, occupy Eastern  Europe  (little value though) and move towards Middle East (and so get closer to the USA involvement in war) ; fourth, and finally-this move will be too expensive-  move against China which will end the poker played by Putin. 

They -and Putin- should give up now to avoid  WWIII, they ( Russians and Putin )- will not.  As Hitler, they are not rational and think some miracle may help them even as the economy is as weak as Hitler's ( Hitler basically had engineering knowledge lacked resources, Russia basically has resources but lack engineering/production knowledge) . You need both to wage winning wars. 

As soon as Russia will change monetary regime as Khazin recommends, either the crush of Russia or military expansion will be the only choices.  And even if they find their own Napoleon later who will be a master of tactical nukes..they will not prevail.

DeaconBenjamin's picture

Russian central bank currency interventions to stabilize ruble

MOSCOW, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- Russia's central bank said Friday that it is ready to increase foreign currency interventions, if threats emerge to the stability of domestic foreign exchange market.

"The ruble dynamics are considerably affected by changes in oil prices, as well as other parameters determining the terms of Russia's foreign trade," the Central Bank said in a statement.

The bank promised to hold onto currency interventions once there are threats of destabilization.

"The Bank is closely watching the situation of the foreign currency market and analyzing the influence of the ruble exchange rate on other segments of the financial market," said the statement.

Earlier in the day, the Central Bank raised its official exchange rate for the weekend and Monday to 49.322 rubles per U.S. dollar and 61.4108 rubles per euro, Interfax news agency reported.

Oil prices tumbled to their lowest level in more than four years on Thursday and crude continued to drop on Friday, after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) left output quotas unchanged at 30 million barrels a day.

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Wednesday that unless the ruble's current exchange rates and oil prices are changed, Russian government will suffer a 500-billion-ruble (10 billion dollars) loss in revenue in the draft budget for 2015.

Ruble has lost more than a quarter of its value since the start of 2014 due to weakness in the Russian economy, which was caused by falling oil prices and economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its allies.


DeaconBenjamin's picture

Belarus hopes to settle problems with food supplies to Russia

MINSK, November 28. /TASS/. Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Rusyi said on Friday the republic would resolve all its problems with food supplies to Russia and shipments of goods through Russian territory by December 2.

“We will sign documents on the problems we have encountered on December 2,” Rusyi told journalists.

Belarusian officials already had talks with Sergey Dankvert, head of Russia's veterinary and phytosanitary service Rosselkhoznadzor, Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolay Fyodorov and Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, the deputy prime minister said.

European Union specialists, representatives from the International Epizootic Office and chief veterinary officers from Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Ukraine were also expected in Minsk on December 1, Rusyi said, noting plans to create a unified system to combat the African Swine Fever virus.

According to Russian customs data, Belarus has considerably increased imports of agricultural products since Moscow introduced its embargo on imports from the West at the start of August. Belarusian imports rose 80% to more than 354,000 tonnes between August and October compared with the same period last year, the customs data show.

An unusual growth of imports from the European Union, Norway, Canada, Australia and the United States to Belarus aroused suspicion that those products might be illicitly reexported to Russia through the neighbouring republic, side-stepping Moscow's embargo.

Russian food standards officers introduced tougher controls of food being transported across Russia from neighbour-state Belarus to third destinations.

Regulations effective from November 30 are designed to close illegal transit routes which authorities say are channelling frozen meat from Europe into Russia — products Moscow has banned in response to Western sanctions over Ukraine. From this date, consignments must be examined at Russian checkpoints before being allowed through.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

Lukashenko indignant over Russia's new food product transit rules

Tougher laws are needed to battle increasingly frequent attempts by Western suppliers to circumvent Russia’s ban on food imports, fraudulently re-exporting European fruit and vegetables through Belarus and Kazakhstan under the guise of transit, Russian officers say.

The ban announced in August bars imports of meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the 28-nation European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway for one year in retaliation for sanctions imposed by those nations on Russia over events in Ukraine.


DeaconBenjamin's picture

US dollar rate on Moscow Exchange exceeds 50 rubles

MOSCOW, November 28. /TASS/. The dollar exchange rate on the Moscow Exchange has for the first time exceeded 50 rubles, setting a new maximum.

The rate grew 1.36 rubles by now to 50.01 rubles per US dollar.

The rate growth since the year start has reached 50%

At the same time, the Brent oil price fell 3.7% to $69.9 per barrel for the first time since May 2010, according to data of the Intercontinental Exchange.


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