Ukraine has been in economic trouble for some time, and it’s only getting worse.
Frustration over the country’s money troubles was what lit the fuse ahead of massive protests late last year. Citizens, particularly pro-European Ukrainians, longed for a stronger economic connection to the rest of Europe. They believed being part of the European Union was the right way forward.
However, former president Viktor Yanukovych believed that it was in the interest of Ukraine to strengthen ties with Russia instead.
His walking away from the EU and into lockstep with Russian President Vladmir Putin touched off a firestorm of protest.
Since Yanukovych was forced to flee Kiev, a new government has formed in his absence. In addition to scrambling to assure its legitimacy, the government is seeking a way to move away from Russian influence and onto the path of independent economic stability.
Despite Putin promising billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine, Russia continues to sit on most of it. This is largely as a result of the outcome of the recent protests, which saw the pro-Russian government toppled. Putin also made the decision to send troops into the Crimean peninsula. He has since claimed the act was an effort to protect ethnically Russian citizens. However, the location has long served as a strategic military position for the Russians, one they clearly do not intend to give up.
The move to send in troops to surround military bases has been viewed Ukraine and much of the international community as nothing short of a military invasion and possibly an act of war.
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It’s clear that despite the disapproval of Russia’s actions, many want to avoid what could spiral into a “third world war” scenario. This has lead countries to look at a financial solution to the situation in Ukraine.
The United States recently put together $1 billion in aid to help Ukraine. The New York Times has reported that the European Union is working on a possible $15 billion aid package for Ukraine over the next two years.
It is hoped that between the United States and Europe, the aid will help the Ukrainians find their foothold.
There remains talks of heavy sanctions against Russia should they continue to occupy Ukrainian territory.
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