Washington’s dreams of Ukraine rebuilding its tattered economy in the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan ‘revolution’ and subsequent regime change may never come true and the next few years may see Kiev continuing to depend on European and US financial aid, the Associated Press reported.
It referred to US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker’s visit to Ukraine, where she discussed ways in which Kiev could be weaned from Western aid.
Her visit came amid the US’s announcement that it would give Ukraine another one billion dollars in loan guarantees on the condition that the country undergo a series of reforms.
The money will be allocated on top of a 17.5-billion-dollar aid program from the International Monetary Fund.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Pritzker touted Washington’s decision on the loan guarantee as a «vote of confidence» in Ukraine’s efforts to resolve the economic deadlock.
In this regard, the Associated Press specifically pointed to a «freefall» in Ukraine’s trade ties with Russia, which had long been Kiev’s biggest commercial partner.
Ukraine’s goods exports to Russia in the past eight months were reportedly less than half what they were a year earlier, «and replacing that lost trade will be hard», the Associated Press said.
The news agency also cited a substantial decrease in Ukraine’s exports to the US and the EU, with China’s investments in Ukraine’s agriculture being the only silver lining.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko has made it plain that restoring Russian trade to pre-conflict levels is not on the government’s agenda. According to her, the focus will be placed on Ukraine’s wider European and global integration.
Kiev and its European and North American allies have repeatedly accused Russia of meddling in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, where government troops have carried out so-called anti-terrorist operations against supporters of the Donbass region’s independence since April 2014. Moscow vehemently denies these allegations.