Ousted Ukrainian president hiding out in Moscow; US warns China and Japan to ease tensions over East China Sea to avoid "unintended consequences"; Chinese companies face billions of dollars in losses if currency continues to weaken; Syria agrees to new chemical weapons deadline; Norway opens up new coal mine in Arctic; and more

Top of the Agenda

Yanukovich Reportedly Surfaces in Moscow

Ukraine's ousted president Viktor Yanukovich has received a security guarantee from Russia, and is currently in Moscow along with Ukraine's former interior minister and chief prosecutor, according to Russian and Ukrainian reports (WaPo). A group of armed men seized two government buildings in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, and raised Russian flags on Thursday; Moscow placed troops on high alert in western Russia for new war games, prompting a warning from the United States against a Russian military intervention in Ukraine (AP). Meanwhile, protest leaders in Kiev named former economy minister Arseny Yatseniuk as their choice to head a new interim government (Reuters).

Analysis

"Ukraine is far more important to Russia than Georgia, where six years ago the Kremlin was ready to go war rather than lose face. In Ukraine, just like in Syria, the bottom line is to avoid being seen to back down under American pressure. Even a partitioned Ukraine is better than a pro-western one," writes George Mirsky in the Financial Times.

"If efforts to forge a newly generous package get bogged down in trans-Atlantic negotiations and the institutional requirements of the International Monetary Fund, the moment to help Ukraine gain a solid economic footing may be lost. And should its currency, the hryvnia, meanwhile succumb to panic and meltdown, the opening for freedom may be squandered. The most expedient way to establish a sound-money foundation—in keeping with Ukrainian aspirations for an independent nation capable of succeeding in the global economy—would be to initiate a currency board," writes Judy Shelton in the Wall Street Journal.

"While Ukraine does have linguistic, cultural and religious divisions, the dividing lines are far from clear. Yes, there are western provinces that were once under Hapsburg rule where Ukrainian nationalism runs strong, and Russians in Crimea who are not reconciled to being part of Ukraine and are now demonstrating against the changes in Kiev. But, in the rest of the country of 46 million people, languages, ethnic identities and loyalties are mixed and muddled," writes Serge Schemann in the New York Times.

 

Pacific Rim

U.S. Envoy: China, Japan Must Ease Tensions in Disputed Sea

Just days before stepping down as U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke urged China and Japan to ease tensions in the disputed East China Sea to avoid severe "unintended consequences" (Reuters).

This CFR InfoGuide explains the maritime disputes in the East and South China Seas.

CHINA: Analysts and investors have warned that Chinese companies will face billions of dollars in losses from exposure to complex derivatives if the renminbi continues to weaken (FT).

ELSEWHERE:

Syria agrees to new chemical weapons deadline

Norway opens new coal mine in Arctic

 This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org

 

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