A War for Shale Gas? Russia's Concern over US/NATO Military Activity near Border
August 18, 2014
Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday voiced serious concern over increased US and NATO military activities near the Russian border. The Yuzivska shale gas field is at the border between the Kharkov and Donetsk regions. The resources are estimated at over four trillion cubic meters.
Russia Voices Concern over Increased US
And NATO Military Activity near Russian Border
MOSCOW (August 16, 2014) -- Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday voiced serious concern over increased US and NATO military activities near the Russian border. In a telephone conversation with his US colleague Chuck Hagel, Shoigu also called for an immediate ceasefire and safe corridors to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate civilians from the combat area in eastern Ukraine.
He gave a detailed assessment of Ukrainian troops' actions in the combat area. Shoigu said it was unacceptable to use combat aviation, heavy weapons, including rockets, artillery and missiles, against civilians and the region's civilian infrastructure.
Shoigu described the situation in the area as "a humanitarian catastrophe".
He also told Hagel about the efforts being taken to deliver humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine and problems with the movement of the humanitarian convoy.
The Russian Defence Ministry described the conversation as "business-like and constructive" and said Shoigu and Hagel had agreed to continue contacts.
NATO Uses "Russian Threat" Notion
To Prove Alliance Necessary -- Russian Envoy
BRUSSELS (August 16, 2014) -- NATO has been using the 'Russian threat' notion exclusively to prove the alliance is necessary, Russia's envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko said in an interview with ITAR-TASS on Saturday.
"The alliance realises Russia is not a threat for its members and generally speaking there is nobody in the East, from whom to protect the allies," he said. "However, that "threat" justifies the efforts to build up the eastern flank, to develop the military presence in Central and Eastern Europe, in waters of the Baltic, Mediterranean and Black Seas, and to intensify manoeuvres along Russian borders."
"In reality, they are settling purely own tasks aimed at proving the alliance is necessary, and in order to focus the trans-Atlantic union, to insist on bigger military expenses, purchases of arms and equipment," the diplomat continued. "It is not clear, why the alliance is trying so hard to build up the existing big military potentials if its role in settlement of the crises in Iraq, Libya and other regions is not evident in fact. All the reasonable people realise as unreasonable the plants from some capital cities that the alliance is weak and even unprotected."
"Playing with statistics data may be endless, but the fact is: NATO accounts for about a half of the global defence expenses. The American military industry is rubbing hands at the thought of coming new orders," he said.
"Clearly, for true interests of the European security, for formation of its new architecture on the collective basis the development of the kind will cause most negative consequences -- the aggravating of the existing, unfortunately, separating lines and to new lines of the kind," he said regretfully.
"The truth is not a single "stabilising" project NATO had was a success," he said.
"What achievements does the alliance have? Cut apart Yugoslavia, falling apart Libya, or Iraq choking from the onslaught of international terrorists? The campaign in Afghanistan is close to being over, the objective of stabilising the situation in that country is not met."
"We can see the situation aggravates, the attacks from rebels, including international contingents, are more active, numbers of civilian victims are growing, the Afghan drug threat is expanding."
"Today, many experts, including those at the alliance, see clearly NATO's ambitions for global leadership are not realistic. The attempts to be playing at a time the roles of a judge and of a bailiff are bound for failure.
In fact, NATO as an instrument of "cold war" does not meet the new security requirements, which demand clearly new approaches rather than use of military force for humanitarian interventions or to shifts of regimes," the Russian official said.
"The world is changing, thus it is unlikely that in international affair the alliance will be referred to as a "source of political legitimacy", as Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen calls it," the Russian envoy said.
Sooner or later NATO will have to acknowledge as unpromising consolidation on the anti-Russian grounds, he said.
"They are feeling here already the heat from the threats emerging from the south. They will have to consider fighting the developing extremism in the Middle East and North Africa, the giant uncontrolled territories where terrorists and arms smugglers are, and to consider penetration of radicals into Europe. They will not be able to dump the burden of Afghanistan after 2014."
"The reality will push NATO member countries to integrating the alliance into the international efforts, and not to have it serve interests of the narrow group," the Russian official said.
Kiev Fights in Ukraine's Southeast for Shale Gas Deposits To Be Controlled by US -- Pushkov
MOSCOW (August 16, 2014) -- The control over Ukraine's southeast is important for Kiev first of all because of the shale gas deposits, which Western countries should be developing, head of the State Duma's international affairs committee Aleksey Pushkov said on Saturday.
"Kiev is fighting in Ukraine's east for the gas reserves: Germany says the reserves make 5,578 billion cubic metres (bcm) [the US reserves are 8,976 bcm]. Control will be from the US," he wrote on Twitter.
The Yuzivska shale gas field is at the border between the Kharkov and Donetsk regions. The resources are estimated at over four trillion cubic metres. In May 2012, British-Netherlands Shell won the competition for development. Another company, certified for development of deposits in the Dnepropetrovsk-Donetsk area is Ukraine's Burisma, where recently son of the US Vice President Joe Biden became a member of the board of directors.
Residents of Slavyansk, which is the centre of the Yuzivska deposit, within several past year organised protests against development of the deposit. They even planned to organise a referendum on the issue.
Ecologists are concerned about consequences from hydrofracturing used in production of shale gas. They say the chemicals used are highly poisonous and may affect not only water, but also the air.
Experts say utilisation of poisonous substances is still an overdue issue worldwide. The media report many countries have refused from developing deposits of the kind in their own territories -- the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and France.
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