As Russia continues to menace in Ukraine with pro Russian groups controlling many buildings, some cities, setting fire to structures leaving dozens dead and some 130 in custody, the prospects of Ukraine holding an election on May 25, seems difficult, almost impossible and improbable to encompass all Ukraine.
With pro Russian incursions throughout eastern Ukraine, and as conditions stand today, how could Ukraine guarantee an effective election in the face of Russian menacing? Though kidnapped OSCE monitors have now been released, what of the security of elections administrators?
United States(US) President Barrack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, following talks in Washington, DC, yesterday; both warned Russia of further sanctions should the May 25 Ukraine vote be disrupted. "If, in fact, we see the disruptions and destabilizing continuing so severely that it impedes elections on May 25, we will not have a choice but to move forward with additional, more severe sanctions," President Obama warned.
Chancellor Merkel concurred: "The 25th of May is not all that far away. Should it not be possible to stabilize the situation further, further sanctions will be unavoidable." Further sanctions could effect vital parts of the Russian economy to include energy, defense, financial services and engineering. Moreover, an outright invasion by the some 40,000 Russian troops amassed at Ukraine's borders, could trigger broader more damaging economic sanctions.
But Putin appears to have hedged against Western sanctions because his troops are not returning to barracks. While IMF economists have determined that the Russian economy is in recession, Putin obviously looks forward to new deals with China and a softening of Western sanctions because of the sustained Western demand for his oil.