Mutual dependence of Ukraine and Russia is rapidly tilting and Ukraine is growing more and more dependant on Russia.
On August 29th, the second pipeline of Nord Stream was completed. Russia announced that it would start exporting gas to Europe through the pipeline in Q4 2012. This means that since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has been in power, Russia has launched a pipeline bypassing Ukraine with a capacity of 55bn cu m a year. This is more than half of all Russian gas Ukraine transited last year. Meanwhile, no construction of an alternative gas supply project has started in Ukraine. As a result, the largely nominal mutual dependence of Ukraine and Russia is rapidly tilting and Ukraine is growing more and more dependant on Russia. The current regime, however, is making its relations with the EU more tense thus decreasing its chances to get any external support in case of a conflict with Moscow. And there would be plenty of reasons for such support. The European Commission has recently launched an investigation against Gazprom which is suspected of abusing is monopolist position on the CEE market.
For Ukrainians incarcerated in the occupied territories and in the Russian Federation itself, things could get much worse in 2018. Only serious international pressure is likely to make Moscow release these political prisoners