With uncertainty about its economic impact, Alberto Fernández and Santiago Cafiero monitor the evolution of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Alberto Fernández and his foreign minister, Santiago Cafiero, closely follow the evolution of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. (Presidency)

Although he decided not to cancel the trip he had planned yesterday to Catamarcaand keeping today’s visit to Corrientes due to the fires on the agenda, President Alberto Fernández monitors the escalation of the war unleashed in Ukraine after the advance of the troops of Vladimir Putin, that keeps the world in suspense. As the major powers try to dissuade the Kremlin from continuing the offensive, in the Government closely follow the evolution of the invasion through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Secretariat for Strategic Affairs, which lead, respectively, Santiago Cafiero and Gustavo Béliz. They are worried about the economic consequences, both because of the impact on the markets and the agreement with the IMF, which is bogged down. For now, “uncertainty” reigns, they say at the Casa Rosada.

Yesterday, early Cafiero was in “permanent communication” with the president to keep him informed about the development of the events. It was the foreign minister who notified Alberto Fernández, yesterday at midnight, that the Russian attack had finally been carried out. Then they issued an official statement, which the Foreign Ministry published on its official website, where they condemned Moscow’s hostilities and called for peace. Then the spokesperson Gabriela Ceruti he read the text to the media in his usual Thursday conference.

Later, in the Government they let it be known that there was the possibility that the Head of State or the Minister of Foreign Affairs would hold a press conference to answer questions about the Argentine position and about the consequences that, they estimate, the conflict would cause in the Argentina. However, at the end of the day this possibility began to seem remote, and finally it did not materialize. The Government did not make any new communications.

At the very beginning of the invasion, both the President and Cafiero traveled together yesterday to Catamarca to meet with the Justicialist governor Raúl Jalil, tour a plant, sign agreements and deliver certificates. The Casa Rosada considers that the official position on the Russian aggression has already been established and hopes that there will be more information as the hours go by.

Meanwhile, Kirchnerism remained silent. La Cámpora did not issue any statement, and its most important members, including Cristina and Máximo Kirchner, stayed away from the media and social networks. in their ranks, as Infobae published, it transpired that they decided, at least for the time being, bow to the positioning of the Casa Rosada, and described the official statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as “neutral”. The attack makes the hard wing of the government uncomfortable, which had a historical position critical of the United States and close to Russia. Until the closing of this edition, before the insistent consultations of this medium, in Balcarce 50 and in the Senate they did not give details on whether Alberto Fernández discussed with Cristina Kirchner the Argentine position regarding the international scene.

For his part, the president of the Chamber of Deputies and head of the Renovating Front, Serge Massa, one of the three most important legs of the Front for All, with very close relations with the United States, was even more vehement than the Palacio San Martín, expressing a “strong condemnation against the unilateral aggression ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin” and requesting to Moscow “to cease the hostilities that unbalance the fragile international scene, waging a conflict whose cost in lives would be incalculable,” as he expressed on his own social networks.

For now, the big question, in the Casa Rosada as well as worldwide, is why the United States and the powers of the European Union allied with Ukraine will give other answers, which have been warning Russia in different national and supranational instances that there will be greater reprisals in case it does not desist from hostilities against Ukraine. There is also great expectation for the actions of China, an ally of Russia. If Ji Xinping intervened, the conflict, hitherto restricted to Europe, would turn into a world war.

Russia bombed Ukraine yesterday and unleashed the most serious conflict in Europe since World War II
Russia bombed Ukraine yesterday and unleashed the most serious conflict in Europe since World War II

The foreign minister held talks yesterday with the most relevant diplomats in the conflict: Eduardo Zuain, Jorge Arguello and Elena Mikusinski, respectively ambassadors to Russia, the United States and Ukraine. He was also in contact with the Secretary for Strategic Affairs, Béliz, a man very close to the President with an office in the Casa Rosada who has an oiled link with Washington. The government statement, Infobae was able to learn, did not go down well in Moscow, especially after Alberto Fernández’s recent approach to Putin with the trip he made a month ago to hold a bilateral meeting in the Kremlin, where he told him that he wanted the Argentina was Russia’s gateway to Latin America and questioned the country’s dependence on the United States. Meanwhile, on the contrary, the content of the document was well received in the North American capital.

The Government pays special attention to the conflict due to the consequences that it may have in Argentina from the economic point of view. Mainly, due to the possible delay of the negotiations that are being carried out on the edge of the expiration of the payment that the Central Bank is unable to face, on March 22, and that if it were not able to face it, it could force the country to fall into default. The alignment with the United States of the last few days, capped off with today’s anti-Russian communique, was to some extent for this reason. Alberto Fernández knows that Washington has a decisive weight on the Fund’s board and its decision-making power has a direct impact on the progress of the talks, which today are hampered by differences in the path to reduce the fiscal deficit. In fact, yesterday the government let it be known that it would not meet the goal it had set for itself, aimed at raising the debt bill in Congress on Friday. Instead, they now point to next week.

At the same time, the Argentine economic and diplomatic team analyzed the consequences that the dispute could cause in international markets and, as a direct consequence, in Argentina. The first and greatest impact that armed conflicts usually have in economic terms is concentrated in raw materials. The two countries facing each other on this occasion, Russia and Ukraine, have enormous weight in this area. Either because of its role in hydrocarbons or because of its enormous production of agricultural raw materials.

On the other hand, yesterday, the oil tanker was one of the markets where the impact was felt the most. The price of oil spiked to $105 dollars a barrel and futures natural gas in Europe shot up 50% and global stock indices fell on Thursday, extending market turmoil that had been fueled by fears of a large-scale attack that finally came to fruition.

This is one of the points that most worries the Casa Rosada and that would have the greatest impact on an economy dependent on crude oil imports. On the contrary, an increase in the international prices of raw materials could benefit the country.

Meanwhile, for now Alberto Fernández, as president of CELAC, has no plans to convene a meeting of the international organization that brings together powers allied to the United States and countries that align with Russia, including Cuba and Venezuela, where to achieve a common position would be practically impossible.


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