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Letters: Want to get Putin’s attention? Talk about oil.

People wave flags as they watch Russian President Vladimir Putin deliver a speech in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.
People wave flags as they watch Russian President Vladimir Putin deliver a speech in the Crimean city of Sevastopol.
(Viktor Drachev / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images)

Re “Russia’s advantage,” Opinion, March 14

Corey Johnson and Tim Boersma note, "[Russian] President Vladimir Putin is well aware that without gas and oil sales, there are no monthly payments to his pensioners, there are no continued investments in infrastructure along the lines of what we saw in Sochi.” This reality can be used by the United States to put very real, and possibly effective, pressure on Putin.

Major oil firms estimate that the Bazhenov formation in western Siberia contains up to 2 trillion barrels of oil and that as much as 360 million barrels are recoverable. However, Russia has neither the technical expertise nor the equipment to drill wells using hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques, both developed and now employed extensively by American oil companies.

Trade embargoes should not be imposed lightly; however, military aggression and occupation justify such action. Unless Russia withdraws from Crimea, President Obama could threaten to prohibit U.S. oil companies from providing advice and the technology to enable Russia to exploit its extensive oil shale reserves.

Putin might pay attention to such a threat.

Dan Caldwell

Malibu

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The writer, a professor of political science at Pepperdine University, is an expert on U.S-Russia relations.

Re “Crimea voters appear ready to split,” March 17

What if we walked into a polling booth in America and saw only one box — a “yes” box — to check for only one candidate? No other candidates, no other possibilities — just “yes”? We would be horrified and immediately call upon our courts to correct the matter.

Unfortunately, this is the choice Ukrainians in Crimea faced last week — a choice that was forced on them by the Russians who illegally took over part of their country. That’s why the Crimeans “voted” to join Russia; there was no other alternative.

Those who would have voted “no” likely stayed home in protest — surrounded by Russian guns. What a farce, and what a tragedy.

Bonnie Compton Hanson

Santa Ana

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