• By The Financial District

A War In Ukraine Will Be Costly For Putin, Russian Oligiarchs

Seldom in the field of human conflict did so much hang on the whims of just one man. Is Vladimir Putin about to invade Ukraine, as the massing Russian troops on its borders suggests?

Photo Insert: Moscow city

Or is he bluffing, to extort concessions from his neighbor and the West? No one can be sure of Putin’s intentions. Even his foreign minister seems to be kept guessing. But, if fighting is about to break out, the world needs to understand the stakes, The Economist commented.

Perhaps Putin is planning a full-scale invasion, with Russian forces thrusting deep into Ukraine to seize the capital, Kyiv, and overthrow the government. Or he may seek to annex more territory in eastern Ukraine, carving out a corridor linking Russia with Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula Putin grabbed in 2014.

Then again, he may want a small war, in which Russia “saves” Kremlin-backed separatists in Donbas, an eastern region of Ukraine, from supposed Ukrainian atrocities—and, at the same time, degrades Ukraine’s armed forces.

Nonetheless, Russian meddling would have global consequences, from boycotts of Russian products, sanctions, and freeze in financial transactions between Moscow and the member countries of the SWIFT global monetary clearinghouse based in Brussels.

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