Russia Raises Natural Gas Threat Against Ukraine
In addition to display of arms in Crimea, Russia wields an energy weapon against its neighbor.
As machine guns mounted on armored trucks signaled Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, Moscow this weekend unsheathed a more subtle, but well-proven, weapon against its insurgent neighbor. (See related, "After Ukraine Crisis, Why Crimea Matters.")
Sergey Kupriyanov, spokesperson for Gazprom, Russia's giant state-owned monopoly, on Saturday ominously reminded Ukraine that it owes the company $1.55 billion—a "huge" debt that it "must" pay back. What's more, he announced that Gazprom might reconsider the steep discount that ousted Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych arranged in December with Russian President Vladimir Putin. That deal allowed Ukraine to tap its leading fuel supplier at a price of $268.50 per thousand cubic meters of gas instead of $400, adding up to $2 billion