Sanctions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union are pushing Russia toward a recession as the intensity of their economic penalties increases after the annexation of Crimea earlier this month.
Banks including state-run VTB Capital say the world’s ninth-biggest economy will shrink for at least two quarters as penalties for annexing Crimea rattle markets, curb investment and raise the cost of borrowing. Sanctions that have so far focused on individuals via visa bans and asset freezes may be expanded to target specific areas of the economy.
This pressure apparently was too much for Vlad, and the next thing you know.....
Pres. Obama didn't go to war; no, he went after the money & Putin picked up the phone to discuss diplomatic solutions http://t.co/AzhuoI8N6pCourtesy of the New York Times:
— Nerdy Wonka (@NerdyWonka) March 28, 2014
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia reached out to President Obama on Friday to discuss ideas about how to peacefully resolve the international standoff over Ukraine, a surprise move by Moscow to pull back from the brink of an escalated confrontation that has put Europe and much of the world on edge.
After weeks of provocative moves punctuated by a menacing buildup of troops on Ukraine’s border, Mr. Putin’s unexpected telephone call to Mr. Obama offered a hint of a possible settlement. The two leaders agreed to have their top diplomats meet to discuss concrete proposals for defusing the crisis that has generated the most serious clash between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.
Of course these are just preliminary talks, but it is more than a little impressive that Obama got Putin to call HIM without a shot being fired or any threats of blowing shit up.
Of course if the Republicans had their way we would have Americans dying on the border of Ukraine right now and we would be headed toward World War 3. You know the kind of "diplomacy" that gives those whose campaigns are paid for by the Military Industrial Complex giant boners.
(H/T to The Obama Diary.)