US diplomats see the relationship between prices for Russian oil and aggression in the Donbas

KIEV. April 24. UNN. The collapse in the oil market and the difficult situation with the economy, caused by including the pandemic coronavirus, can force Russia to change opinions about aggression in the East of Ukraine. This was stated by American diplomats during an online discussion of the Kiev security forum, the correspondent of UNN.

“Now, perhaps the time has come when at least someone understands that the time has come to stop them (the Russian – ed.), aggression in Ukraine. For this there are at least two reasons. The first is pandemic, and it is a very big problem for Moscow,” – said the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine in 2003-2006, Director of the Eurasia center of the Atlantic Council John Herbst.

According to him, already now it is possible to see the statistics of morbidity in Russia, which is growing, and it is unclear whether the Kremlin to deal with the pandemic.

“The second problem of the pandemic caused a sharp decline in global demand for oil and the Russian economy is dependent on hydrocarbons. Hydrocarbons account for 40% of export earnings of the Kremlin, and suddenly they did not earn. It is worth remembering that the Soviet Union collapsed after almost 10 years, during which oil prices were low. It is also worth remembering that Moscow’s aggression against Georgia and Ukraine in 2014 began when the price of oil exceeded $ 100 a barrel and the Kremlin felt an abundance of resources,” – said the diplomat.

His idea was picked up by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2000, senior researcher, Stanford University Steven Pifer.

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In his opinion, the Kremlin is using the Donbass as a mechanism to destabilize Kiev to distract attention from the real problems of reforms, which Ukraine should focus on.

“But I don’t think Russia really wants to take away Donbass. The question is how to modify these plans. That’s where we need to find a mechanism to make the Kremlin more spending,” said Pifer.

The diplomat said he did not consider that now Vladimir Putin is in a comfortable position. So, in January the Russian leader had big plans for spring, was held on amending the Constitution and pass a referendum that would have supported and had an opportunity to be President until 2036 and so on.

“Now it is not present, he was faced with the economy, which according to the IMF this year has decreased by almost 6%. The price of Urals oil in Europe is $ 21 per barrel. Yesterday the oil price was even negative. Russia has reached agreement with Saudi Arabia to reduce production by 10 million barrels of oil per day is a step in the right direction. But the demand for oil decreased by 25 million barrels, and in early may will have nowhere to store the oil. So Putin can understand that the situation with the economy in his country is getting heavier. I hope that the increase in losses for the Russian economy will help to change the thinking in Moscow”, – the diplomat added.

As reported UNN, the Organization of countries-exporters of oil (OPEC) said that several Ministers of the countries-members of the cartel and of the allied countries held on 21 April consultations to discuss falling global oil prices.