Oil prices surged during the week, though stock markets remained broadly sanguine, as tensions continued to mount in Ukraine as key government buildings in eastern towns and cities remained occupied by pro-Russian separatists.
After deadlines to leave were repeatedly ignored, the government in Ukraine's capital, Kiev, sent in security services and troops to recapture the buildings.It also accused Russian Special Forcesof providing weapons and support forthe rebels.
However, Ukrainian forces have only succeeded in clearing one airfield so far, while in one part of the country there are reports that Ukrainian troops have switched sides, surrendering armoured cars to the insurgents.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
Russian president Vladimir Putin warned that further intervention by the central government risks putting Ukraine "on the brink of civil war".
Meanwhile, Ukraine's central bank raised interest rates sharply from 6.5% to 9.5% to prop up the hryvnia, the country's beleaguered currency, which has fallen by more than 30% this year.
What the commentators said
Ukraine is the victim of Putin's "ambition and spite", said Angus Roxburgh inThe Guardian. But America and Europe have allowed this to happen by their "consistent failure to predict or counter his moves".
They ignored that Putin had "more or less promised" that he would "do anything" to secure Crimea. They need to make it clear that "any attempt to dismember the country will be repulsed by force".
This should be followed by "incentives", such as devolution of power to the regions and guarantees for Russian speakers. Kiev must also get its house in order, and get rid of "far-rightists" who are in the new government.
Russia has denied that those involved in the latest uprisings are its soldiers, said The Economist. But Russia's defence ministry boasted last year of special operations' units in neighbouring countries many think "this has now been seen in action".
Yet the Kremlin is unlikely to want to "annex any more of the country" the cost of keeping the population acquiescent would be too expensive. Putin would prefer the eastern regions "to grab power for themselves... undermining the central government's legitimacy".
Ultimately, Russia "wants to turn Ukraine back into a buffer state, with a level of disorder it can turn up or down". In the end, it may "end up barely a state at all".
Andrew is the editor of MoneyWeek magazine. He grew up in Vienna and studied at the University of St Andrews, where he gained a first-class MA in geography & international relations.
After graduating he began to contribute to the foreign page of The Week and soon afterwards joined MoneyWeek at its inception in October 2000. He helped Merryn Somerset Webb establish it as Britain’s best-selling financial magazine, contributing to every section of the publication and specialising in macroeconomics and stockmarkets, before going part-time.
His freelance projects have included a 2009 relaunch of The Pharma Letter, where he covered corporate news and political developments in the German pharmaceuticals market for two years, and a multiyear stint as deputy editor of the Barclays account at Redwood, a marketing agency.
Andrew has been editing MoneyWeek since 2018, and continues to specialise in investment and news in German-speaking countries owing to his fluent command of the language.
Equity release rates drop – is it worth unlocking cash from your home?
News Lifetime mortgage rates are falling from their record highs - is equity release worth another look?
By Marc Shoffman Published
Hargreaves Lansdown launches fixed-term cash ISA product
savings/hargreaves-lansdown-fixed-cash-isa-launch Investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown is to offer fixed term cash ISAs via its Active Savings platform paying 4.8%, tax free - but is it any good?
By Kalpana Fitzpatrick Published
Brace yourself for the return of rationing
Opinion Russia is turning off the cheap energy. That is already leading to belt-tightening, says Matthew Lynn. Who will suffer most, and which sectors will thrive?
By Matthew Lynn Published
Fortress Russia’s economy is crumbling
Briefings Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in the belief that the Russian economy could withstand whatever the West threw at it. That belief is being severely tested.
By Simon Wilson Published
How the West can win Putin’s war on food
Opinion The West could easily make up the shortfall if it let the free market rip, says Matthew Lynn.
By Matthew Lynn Published
Will the sanctions aimed at Putin have any effect?
Briefings Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the West’s strategic calculus and tougher than expected sanctions have followed. Will they be enough to change the course of events?
By Simon Wilson Published
Markets fear inflation more than war
News The world's stockmarkets have dismissed Russia's invasion of Ukraine - preferring to concentrate on the perils of inflation.
By Alex Rankine Published
What exclusion from the SWIFT banking system means for Russia
Briefings As part of Western sanctions, many of Russia's banks have been banned from the SWIFT system. Saloni Sardana explains what that is, and how the ban will affect Russia
By Saloni Sardana Published
Russia is now a financial pariah. What does that mean for markets?
Analysis With Russia being frozen out of the global financial system, John Stepek looks at what it means for markets, the global economy, and your portfolio.
By John Stepek Published
Oil passes $110 a barrel as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues – here’s what it means for you
Briefings With Russia's invasion of Ukraine intensifying, the price of oil, gas and petrol has soared even further. Saloni Sardana looks at what the future may hold for energy prices.
By Saloni Sardana Last updated