Russian President Vladimir Putin is showing no signs of heeding western calls to ease the standoff in Crimea, where there were reports that armed attackers forced their way into a Ukrainian military base before withdrawing.
Russia said Ukraine’s natural gas debt climbed to almost $2 billion and signaled supplies may be cut, ratcheting up pressure on its neighbor as they scrap over the future of the Black Sea Crimea region.
U.S. and Russian diplomats will meet today to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, heading a global diplomatic push to ease tension as forces in Crimea square off and the Obama administration maintains the threat of sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s government.
Vladimir Putin said he sees no immediate need to invade eastern Ukraine as the Obama administration prepares $1 billion in loan guarantees for the cash-strapped nation and threatens sanctions against Russia.
Russia justified its intervention in the Crimea as a legitimate response to a request from Ukraine’s ousted president amid threats posed by extremists, while Western leaders sought to keep the standoff from spiraling into war.
Gains in everything from gold to oil drove commodities to the highest since September as Ukraine’s turmoil boosted the appeal of haven assets and fueled concern that energy and agricultural supplies will be disrupted.