Dramatic twist in the Ukraine saga last night with a conversation between a State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine posted on YouTube which appeared to show the official, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, deliberating on the make-up of the next government in Kiev.
That led to a furious tit-for-tat with Moscow accusing Washington of planning a coup and the United States in turn saying Russia had leaked the video, which carried subtitles in Russian. A Kremlin aide said Moscow might block U.S. “interference” in Kiev.
Nuland is due to give a news conference today after her visit to Kiev.
Vladimir Putin is likely to meet Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich in Sochi as the Winter Olympics get underway. It could be awkward for Yanukovich’s opponents if they look like western pawns.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s central bank has introduced restrictions on certain types of foreign exchange purchase to help stabilize the financial system.
After the European Central Bank sat on its hands yesterday but gave a fairly clear steer that action could be taken next month if new internal forecasts show a further deterioration in inflation and growth, Yves Mersch and Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos are both speaking today.