The Ukranian soldiers bravely holding out in their Crimean bases may soon face additional pressures - from their wives. Ukraine's coffers are empty, with not enough left in the accounts to meet the armed forces paybill. The country's vanity flag-carrier UIA will soon have to ground its jets as it won't be able to pay for avgas or landing charges. And though Ukraine may be able to pay for 5.45 x 39 cartridges for the army's AK74s with dollar cash, spares for its MiG-29s, missiles and more sophisticated military hardware will be more difficult to come by. The make-believe new government, with the speaker of parliament also pretending to be the President, will have no money to pay the civil servants to promulgate its lunatic decrees. It's unlikely that eastern Ukranians, who run the country's significant industries, and with their loyalties to Russia, will be eager to pay taxes to Kiev and western Ukranians, wary of political corruption, and whose exports seem to consist largely of smuggled cigarettes and prostitutes, will not make up the difference.
The IMF have made clear that the earliest its first loan could come on stream is mid-April, and stress the word loan. It will be coupled to savage spending cuts. Any hopes of a decent revenue from Black Sea tourism will be dented as German and UK lads and lasses after cheap booze and dodgy sex pick somewhere without camouflaged APCs overlooking the beaches. And though Ukraine may produce a record 60m tonne grain harvest this Autumn, it's probably already been mortgaged to the hilt by the outgoing regime.
Commentators who believe that after a brief period of hardship Ukraine can emerge like a butterfly as a prosperous western component of a Federal Europe are either naive or cruelly deluding the people of the Ukraine; Andrej Nikolaides writes in the Guardian of Bosnia's experience. If it's indicative, the best the Ukranian people can hope for is poverty, debt servitude to European banks and eye watering levels of IMF-induced unemployment.
One feels sympathy for the Ukranians who believed the siren seduction of the EU's unelected officials; they will now be approaching the EU stressing their urgent need of a few billions to get them through March and pay the wages. They may be offended or even rendered hostile by the EU's refusal to fund them.
All the while, Putin doesn't have to fire a shot. Russian roubles are more important to London's banks, warship orders to French shipyards and Russian investment more critical to a recovering Europe than the Ukraine. And Russian gas doesn't only heat Europe's homes but drives the furnaces and smelters of Europe's heavy industry and the turbines of its power plants. Russia's biggest trading partner is Germany, and Merkel won't risk that relationship to back the ultra-nationalists of the Maidan.
From all the news interviews I've seen, what the majority of Ukranians seem to want is a return to the status quo ante - with a slow, steady and democratically backed evolution that balances Russian interests and western aspirations. The situation, in fact, destroyed by the insane hubris of the EU's unelected officials and its Ruritanian 'External Action Service'. If Kiev wants to put anyone on trial, Van Rompuy, Ashton and Reding are surely prime suspects.