News / Economy

Russia Boosts Ukraine's Yanukovich with Fresh Credit

Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich takes part in a ceremony at the memorial complex for Soviet Ukrainian-born victims of a military conflict in Afghanistan, Kyiv, Feb. 14, 2014.
Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovich takes part in a ceremony at the memorial complex for Soviet Ukrainian-born victims of a military conflict in Afghanistan, Kyiv, Feb. 14, 2014.
Reuters
Russia said on Monday it would give Ukraine a fresh cash injection of $2 billion to support its heavily indebted economy in a boost to the embattled president in Kyiv, who has been forced onto the back foot by 12 weeks of unrest.

Viktor Yanukovich is contending with an opposition-led street revolt after he walked away from a trade pact with the European Union in November and opted instead for forging closer economic ties with Russia, Ukraine's former Soviet master.
 
Ukrainian anti-government protesters stand near a passage in a barricade at the site of recent clashes with riot police in Kyiv, Feb. 17, 2014.Ukrainian anti-government protesters stand near a passage in a barricade at the site of recent clashes with riot police in Kyiv, Feb. 17, 2014.
x
Ukrainian anti-government protesters stand near a passage in a barricade at the site of recent clashes with riot police in Kyiv, Feb. 17, 2014.
Ukrainian anti-government protesters stand near a passage in a barricade at the site of recent clashes with riot police in Kyiv, Feb. 17, 2014.
With the opposition, backed by the United States and its EU allies, pressing hard for Yanukovich to allow the formation of an independent government, the Kremlin had hinted strongly that a $15-billion lifeline would be frozen unless he produced a government acceptable to Moscow to replace the cabinet whose prime minister quit three weeks ago to appease the protesters.
 
But ahead of a parliament session in Kiev, when prospects for a new government are to be discussed, Russia's finance minister, Anton Siluanov, said Moscow would buy $2 billion of Ukrainian eurobonds by the end of this week, in addition to the $3 billion it bought in late December.
 
A Ukrainian government source said it expected the money from Russia to arrive on Wednesday.
 
November's revolt, sparked by the U-turn on the EU pact, has spiraled into countrywide protests at perceived sleaze and corruption in the Yanukovich administration, and has triggered a tussle between East and West in which Yanukovich has had to ponder his future strategic alliances.
 
As Russia beckons with the aid package - a quick fix to plug holes in Ukraine's indebted economy - the United States and its Western allies have urged Yanukovich to move back towards an IMF-backed deal with Europe.
 
Russia's commitment to continue to drip-feed its aid package to Ukraine, as announced by Siluanov, appeared to strengthen Yanukovich's hand as he ponders a replacement for Russian-born premier Mykola Azarov, who resigned on Jan. 28.
 
But if he resists opposition calls for constitutional change and names another hardliner - perhaps more suitable to Moscow - the streets could return to uproar.

Opposition pressure
 
Opposition leaders on Monday pressed Yanukovich again to accept curbs on his powers that would let them form an independent government to end the street unrest and save the economy from collapse.
 
A government amnesty for activists detained during mass unrest took effect on Monday after protesters ended their occupation of Kyiv's city hall and municipal buildings elsewhere.
 
But tension remained high with the opposition accusing Yanukovich and his allies of delaying discussion that could lead to his relinquishing what they call “dictatorial” powers. They suspect him of trying to slow down the momentum of the protest movement.
 
But with foreign currency reserves depleted by repeated moves to prop up the weak hryvnia and fears of a devaluation growing by the day, Yanukovich is increasingly under pressure to name a new prime minister.
 
“People want a complete rebooting of the system, that's the main thing,” said boxer-turned-politician Vitaly Klitschko, one of three opposition leaders who are pressing for a return to an old constitution that would remove presidential control of the government and the judiciary.
 
“We are being told that this constitution can only be drawn up by September. But we are in a critical situation when people are demanding to be heard immediately,” he said on Monday at a meeting of parliamentary factions.

Club-wielding militia
 
The amnesty came into force after scores of protesters, including a masked and club-wielding “self-defense' militia numbering about 100, ended a two-month occupation of city hall.
 
The amnesty, applauded by the European Union and the OSCE rights body, means that criminal charges will be dropped against protesters for offenses between Dec. 27 and Feb. 2.
 
That period includes a week of clashes in January involving radical activists in which six people were killed and hundreds of police and protesters injured.
 
Despite the conciliatory moves, the mood on the Maidan, the local name for Kyiv's Independence Square which is the focal point of the protests, remained truculent on Monday.
 
“I can't see that anything much has changed - people still want the leadership to go. And the amnesty law does not change anything,” said Viktor Stelmakh, 45, from the Zhytomyr region west of Kyiv.
 
“Parliament has got to understand that everything has to be changed - the constitution, the laws, the president and even the parliament.
 
“I don't want today's Yanukovich to be simply replaced by another new Yanukovich.”
 
At Kiev's main flashpoint near Dynamo football stadium, where three activists were killed in January in clashes with riot police, masked men manned barricades of tires and sandbags across one end of the road leading to government offices despite a partial passage for traffic being cleared on Sunday.
 
Western governments have expressed fears of an escalation of conflict and breakdown of law and order unless Yanukovich meets opposition demands.
 
Young club-wielding men in black ski masks appear almost everywhere now in the city center - even entering shops and fast-food eateries. Near the Dynamo stadium “front line”, groups of men in paramilitary fatigues and hard hats can be seen marching and training together.
 
The hryvnia weakened only slightly on Monday after an overall slide in value of 7 percent since the beginning of the year, but prospects of a serious depreciation in its value sometime in the future appeared more and more likely.
 
“The basic factor weighing on the hryvnia today is the absence of trust,” said Glib Vyshlynsky of market research company GfK. “And without the political crisis being solved it is difficult to assume there will be a growth of trust.”

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Igor from: Russia
February 17, 2014 11:24 PM
Those protesters must recognize who is the real friend of Ukraine. Who always supports Ukraine when it is in difficulties. It is Russia. The EU and the west in common have done nothing to support Ukraine's economy. How much money have the West supported Ukraine so far? Nothing. They only instigate social unrest and the state of disorder instead. Pls bear in mind the saying "A friend in need is a friend indeed"
In Response

by: Alex from: Canada
February 18, 2014 5:59 AM
Many of the protesters are paid, some are fascists, some are ultra nationalists. Those protests will stop as soon as EU and USA will stop interfering into Ukrainian internal affairs and when they stop providing financial support.
My personal advise to Yanukovich:
you will never be able satisfy the needs of Ukrainian fascists and nationalists. Before you make a deal with those cowards use tanks to clean up the city. It will help a lot to calm down the situation in Ukraine.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9109
JPY
USD
121.50
GBP
USD
0.6467
CAD
USD
1.2293
INR
USD
63.559

Rates may not be current.