The Bulgarian government is under enormous pressure from the US to cancel the South Stream project, and so Bulgaria is the place to watch now, Daniel McAdams, executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity think tank, told RT.
On August 8, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk announced that Kiev had prepared a list of 172 Russian citizens and 65 companies, predominantly Russian, to put under sanctions for “sponsoring terrorism, supporting the annexation of Crimea, and violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine.” Proposed sanctions include asset freezes, bans on certain enterprises, bans on privatizing state property, refusing to issue licenses, and a complete or partial ban on gas transit and air flights through its territory. Ukraine’s parliament will vote on the final measures on August 12.
RT: Kiev is expected to vote on the sanctions on August 12. Do you think they'll go through?
Daniel McAdams: I think given the bellicose nature of Prime Minister Yatsenuk and the reckless manner in which he is governing I would certainly expect them to. What Ukraine is doing is committing economic suicide, and the US itself demanding that the EU applies its own sanctions is demanding that the Europeans commit economic suicide. So it makes no sens,e but I suspect it would probably go through in a short term. Remember that Ukraine is spending 6 million dollars a day on its war against the people in the east of that country. This money is borrowed money, the money it expects to make up for not allowing transfer of gas. They are also expecting the IMF, i.e. the American taxpayers, to pony up.
RT: Who do you think will be hardest hit, should Ukraine impose these sanctions?
DM: I find it ironic that the most bellicose of nations, and I’m thinking particularly of Poland and its Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski… he is the one who is taking the most pleasure in sticking it to Russia, the average Pole is going to have an awfully bitter winter this year, thanks to Sikorski. Poland has around 90 percent of its gas from Russia, so they will be cut off. The Baltic States are also heavily dependent, they are also particularly bellicose against Russia, so they are cutting their own noses to spite their faces.
RT: Ukraine has already lost Russia's gas. Is the threat to prevent Europe from getting supplies as well, an act of desperation or a carefully planned move?
DM: You have seen Ukraine escalating the situation continuously from the beginning of this government in Kiev and there has been no one to tell them to put the brakes on. However, what are you seeing now in West European media? I think the panic has started to set in. When Russia first announced sanctions on the food items, there was a panic. The Europeans said: “This is not fair, this is playing politics” just after the day they followed the US demand to apply sanctions. The publisher of the huge German economic journal, Handelsblatt, with a very powerful column, yesterday criticized the German government for its sanctions. You saw on Monday an article in the BBC highlighting all of the companies: Scottish fish exporters, Irish cheese makers who are going to take enormous economic hits in these tit-for-tat sanctions. Energy is not different, the only person that will do it well is ironically the US vice-president ‘s son, John Biden’s son, who you know is on the board of one of the largest Ukrainian energy companies, who are selling their line to the Ukrainians to make up for all of this by fracking and other alternative sources, which is just a joke.
RT: Do you think this move could speed up the construction of the currently-frozen South Stream?
DM: On one hand, it’s in its interest [Bulgaria] without question to continue with the South Stream and to have as good relations as it can because it gets almost all of its energy from Russia. However, I can imagine there is enormous pressure from the US. One can only imagine the pressure to cancel the South Stream project. So Bulgaria is the place to watch now.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.