Fine line to tread

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THAT the “West must tread a fine line in its dealings on the Ukraine” is brought out in Allan Massie’s analysis of the standoff. (Perspective, 14 May)

However there is one crucial issue to be considered, namely the economic consequences of imposing “real sanctions” beyond those for Russia itself.

One action mooted is to bring political pressure to bear on the Middle East, in particular Saudi Arabia, to boost oil production.

An intended consequence would be to drastically lower world oil prices and so inflict damage to Russia as one of world’s largest energy ­producers.

Surely serious attention must be given to the “unintentional consequence” of the effect of this action on the North Sea oil and gas industry.

It is only a few months since Sir Ian Wood warned of dire consequences for the economics of North Sea oil and gas if the price per barrel fell below $90.

Arguably sanctions involving the price of energy, intended to punish and deter Russia, are severely limited if the potential impact on the North Sea, Scotland and the UK is taken into account.

Ellis Thorpe

Old Chapel Walk

Inverurie, Aberdeenshire