Cheap Gas for Militarization


So, Ukraine finally got the gas discount that many critics of the long-term contract, set in place by Yulia Tymoshenko and Vladimir Putin last year, have been hoping for.  In exchange for a 30% discount on the agreed gas price, Ukraine will extend Russia’s lease on its Sevastopol naval base by 25 years.  
Here’s a summary of some responses:
President Dmitry Medvedev said that ‘these issues are directly and unequivocally linked,‘ and praised the agreement by ‘true partners‘.  The Guardian says the news is an ‘explicit sign‘ of Yanukovych’s ‘tilt towards Moscow‘.  The BBC notes that the previous Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko, ‘had opposed any extension of the lease‘, and RIA Novosti says that the current Ukrainian opposition believes that any prolongation of Russian military presence would require amendments to the Constitution as well as a national referendum, and, as such, that Yanukovych ‘should be impeached‘ for signing the agreement.  RFE/RL notes that the discount will help Ukraine secure credit from the International Monetary Fund, which it badly needs. The World Politics Review blog wonders whether the deal will ‘lead to a softening in Moscow’s position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia‘.
Oh, and Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko wants to make it perfectly clear that the discount pertains to Ukraine, and Ukraine alone. 

(Photo from The Times website)