‘Moscow ends up at risk with Ukraine gas agreement’

‘Moscow ends up at risk with Ukraine gas agreement’
It is not clear what Moscow gets out of a deal with Ukraine by selling gas below market price, and guaranteeing supplies to Europe while there are still sanctions and anti-Russian propaganda, Paul Roberts, former Assistant US Treasury Secretary, told RT.

RT:How important is this deal for Ukraine and Europe?

Paul Roberts: It is not clear what the Russian government gets out of it. They have agreed to sell gas to Ukraine at a subsidized price, far below the market price. And yet Ukraine continues to carry on propaganda against Russia, continues to attack the Russian population in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Alexander Mercouris, international legal expert, on the latest EU-Russia-Ukraine gas agreement: “I don’t think [the IMF] had any choice. They didn’t want to get down this road. But the alternative would have been absolutely awful: it would have been large parts of Europe without gas come the middle of winter, and that would have been utter and complete disaster. “

RT:But getting away from those attacks how significant is this deal for Europe and for Ukraine, did they walk away winners in this?

PR: Of course Europe and Ukraine walks away and Russia is a loser. Here you have Russia subsidizing the countries that are imposing sanctions on it, trying to destroy Russia.

RT:Some experts say that Russia is a winner in this situation? Do you agree with that? Is this a good price for gas?

PR: Why is a hundred dollars below the market price a good price? Furthermore, there is no guarantee that Russia will ever be paid. If they are not going to be paid, what are they going to do? They are going to cut off the gas in the middle of the winter so that Washington propaganda can say: “Look at these evil Russians, they are starving, freezing Ukrainians, the gas is cut off!” I don’t think Russians understand what they are dealing with. Washington is far more devious and sophisticated then Russia can comprehend. This is not that Russia has a chance.

Alexander Mercouris, international legal expert, on the latest EU-Russia-Ukraine gas agreement: “Ukraine is broken largely because the EU broke it through the policies it has followed over the last year, and now Europe has to pay for that… I don’t think financially they are very happy about it, but realistically, what choice did they have.”

RT:But it is not Ukraine that is going to pay this money to Russia. The EU and IMF have said they're ready to finance Kiev's debt to Russia. But the Ukrainian economy is in tatters. Can they expect to get the money back?

PR: If the IMF pays the Ukrainian bills it takes it back out of Ukraine. This is not a gift to Ukraine. If the Ukrainian economy blows up - which is likely to be the case – the IMF sees it is not going to be paid because Ukraine can’t pay. Russians won’t be paying.

RT:Russia is having economic problems of its own. Is this agreement a positive step for Moscow too?

PR: I think Moscow ends up at risk with this agreement. Washington is very interested in doing all the damage it possibly can to Russia because Russia is a potential check on Washington’s hegemony over the world. So for all the prices falling is good as far as Washington is concerned. I think it is foolish for the Russians to let their currency be traded at foreign exchange markets because Washington can attack the ruble and the exchange markets and drive it down. Just as George Soros did. One person was able to destroy the British pound. Washington can easily destroy the ruble. I still don’t think Russians understand what they are up against; they are not really in the game. Vladimir Putin is a good leader and he gives good speeches, but he doesn't seem to be able to prevent the continuing assaults on Russia. Despite giving Ukraine a subsidized gas price, despite Russia guaranteeing energy supplies to Europe in the winter, there is no reduction in sanctions, there is no stop in the propaganda against Russia. In fact the propaganda has increased because Washington is afraid that Russia might gain some advantage from treating Ukraine in such a kind way. What is Russia gaining out of this? It is not getting anything. Here is Russia with a power to turn energy off in Europe. It doesn’t use it, it doesn’t say to these countries in Europe: “Look, if you are going to put sanctions on us, if you are not going to have an independent foreign policy, if you are going to follow Washington’s orders - we don’t sell gas to NATO members.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.