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US and EU Lose Major Energy Battle in Ukraine

Ilargi, The Automatic Earth
As the propaganda war over 298 innocent dead people plunges into ever deeper absurdity, I think we may have found the answer to a question that intrigued me over the past few days: why did Ukraine PM Yatsenyuk and his government resign all of a sudden last week?…
(27 July 2014)

Coordinated Sanctions Aim at Russia’s Ability to Tap Its Oil Reserves

Peter Baker, Alan Cowell and James Kanter, New York Times
The United States and Europe kicked off a joint effort on Tuesday intended to curb Russia’s long-term ability to develop new oil resources, taking aim at the Kremlin’s premier source of wealth and power in retaliation for its intervention in Ukraine.

In announcing coordinated sanctions, American and European leaders went beyond previous moves against banking and defense industries in an effort to curtail Russia’s access to Western technology as it seeks to tap new Arctic, deep sea and shale oil reserves. The goal was not to inhibit current oil production but to cloud Russia’s energy future.

The new strategy took direct aim at the economic foundation of Russia, which holds the largest combined oil and gas reserves in the world…
(29 July 2014)

Ukrainian ‘seizes Avdiivka’ in rebel Donetsk stronghold

Staff, BBC
Ukraine says it has seized a key town near the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, as fighting intensifies in the east.

Pro-Russia separatists were driven out of Avdiivka on Wednesday, the army says. The strategic town is near the airport and train station in Donetsk.

Heavy fighting around Donetsk has again prevented international experts from reaching the crash site of flight MH17…
(30 July 2014)

Ukrainian prime minister Arseny Yatseniuk resigns

Shaun Walker, The Guradian
Ukraine’s prime minister has resigned after the governing coalition collapsed, in a sign that five months after the Maidan protests led to a change of government, the country’s political system is still beset by discord.

The government is struggling to defeat an insurgency by pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, where a Malaysia Airlines jet was downed last Thursday.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, one of the leaders of the Maidan protests, was seen by many Ukrainians as a safe pair of hands, with his mild manner and intellectual demeanour. But he grew angry during Ukraine’s parliamentary session as it failed to pass legislation to increase army financing and regulate the country’s energy situation.

"History will not forgive us," he told parliament. "Our government now has no answer to the questions – how are we to pay wages, how are we tomorrow morning going to send fuel for armoured vehicles, how will we pay those families who have lost soldiers, to look after the army?"…
(24 July 2014)

Ukraine votes to keep Western companies out of gas industry

Staff, RT
Ukraine’s parliament has rejected allowing EU and US companies to buy up to 49 percent of oil and gas company Naftogaz, and also said they were against liquidating the national energy monopoly.

Kiev rejected splitting the company in two, a measure encouraged by the West in order for Naftogaz to comply with Europe’s third energy package, which doesn’t allow one single company to both produce and transport oil and gas.

The bill proposed creating two new joint stock companies in order to conform to the package, “Ukraine’s Main Gas Transmission” and “Ukraine’s Underground Storages.”

The proposal sought to meet the requirements of EU legislation and strengthen Ukraine’s energy independence.

Earlier in July, the Ukrainian parliament passed a first reading of the bill that would have allowed Western companies up to a 49 percent of Ukraine’s Gas Transportation System (GTS).

There had been rumors the state would sell off at least 15 percent of Naftogaz in a public offering, however, the conditions in Ukraine’s capital and equity market aren’t strong enough to get a high enough price…
(25 July 2014)

US intelligence officials just gave a very unsatisfying briefing on MH17

Max Fisher, Vox
Senior US intelligence officials spoke to reporters on Tuesday to share some of the latest intel on the shoot-down of flight MH17 last week over eastern Ukraine. They did not offer much that was not already known, or at least widely presumed.

The jet was most likely shot down by separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine using a Buk surface-to-air missile system (also known as SA-11 system), according to press accounts of the briefing. They showed photographic evidence to back this up…

What’s perhaps more interesting is what the US intelligence officials would not say: that the attack was deliberate or that Russia pulled the trigger. The officials said they suspected the rebels fired on a commercial airliner mistakenly; this too had become conventional wisdom, as the rebels had only previously fired on Ukrainian military aircraft, but the hint of possible confirmation is something…

Ukraine flag teaser image via shutterstock. Reproduced at with permission.