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

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8954
    JPY
    USD
    110.07
    GBP
    USD
    0.6802
    CAD
    USD
    1.2932
    INR
    USD
    67.080

    Rates may not be current.