A detained billionaire who made a fortune as a middleman in Russia’s murky gas trade with Ukraine may hold the key for U.S. lawmakers seeking harsher sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.
Even before the Ukraine standoff, foreign companies in Russia say they were alarmed by the number of executives being deported for minor infractions. Now with the West preparing sanctions, they’re bracing for more.
Arseniy Yatsenyuk won the support of Ukrainian protesters in Kiev to lead an interim cabinet and avert a default after the nation’s bloodiest unrest since World War II as the U.S. said it was working on a $1 billion rescue.
The U.S. and other Group of Eight nations suspended preparations for a June summit in Russia because of the military action in Ukraine, as Secretary of State John Kerry signaled Russia may be pushed out of the G-8.
Ukraine’s opposition got a boost in its struggle to wrest power from President Viktor Yanukovych as Western nations consider new aid for the east European country after Russia suspended its bailout program last week.
President Barack Obama canceled next month’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow after Russia’s refusal to turn over fugitive Edward Snowden, exposing one of the biggest rifts between the two military powers since the end of the Cold War.