It has been just about a week since the conclusion of the Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi, Russia. The Black Sea resort of Sochi successfully hosted the Winter Olympics, bringing Russia to the forefront of world sports.
However, the events over the last 7 days have made Sochi 2014 a distant memory. Courtesy, the crisis in Ukraine. Russia is at the forefront of this crisis.
If Sochi was a dream, Ukraine is a nightmare. All in a span of one month. The Black Sea is in the focus of the world's attention.
|Ukraine In Crisis|
|Russian Army in Crimea Ukraine|
|The Ukrainian Army|
Vladimir Putin has been known to keep him calm in the recent months. Just a few months back, the US was hell bent on attacking Syria. Putin, with his back room power negotiations, prevailed upon Obama to keep the strike in abeyance.
The same Putin now finds himself in a position where the world powers are trying to prevail upon him to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Ukraine.
We don't know what runs through his mind today. Almost 6 years back, in 2008, a conflict in neighboring Georgia had Russia taking over two regions - Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Since then, these two regions are still aligned with Russia. Russia considers them as independent states.
Are Putin's ambitions in Ukraine limited to Crimea? Or does he have interests beyond this region? Will Russia and Ukraine keep their cool, in order to prevent a full blown military crisis?
The US threatens Russia of economic sanctions. It's not a very good idea. Russia is home to Gazprom (the world's biggest gas producer) (headquartered less than 4 kilometres away from my home today). Gazprom is biggest supplier of gas for the whole of Europe. Any disruptions in gas services would bring Europe to a halt. Escalating gas and oil prices could spell doom across the world economy.
The Russian Ruble is already under tremendous pressure. So is the Ukrainian currency - Hryvnia. The Hryvnia has lost more than 13% against the USD in the last one month.
The road ahead looks to have a few options - War, Economic Sanctions, and Peace. The former two will have a wide ranging impact across Russia, Ukraine, Europe and across the world. A war is something which is least desirable at the moment. Peace is what everyone wants.
It would be important for every world leader to remember one important adage - with great power comes great responsibility. It is now up to Putin, Obama and the EU leaders to exercise their power with due care, helping in subsidizing this Ukraine crisis.
Only then the world would remember these leaders, not for what they did, but for what they did not do. A war.