Russia Dangles a $15 Billion Carrot in Front of the Ukraine

ukraine Yanukovich $15 billion

Amid growing tensions surrounding Ukraine’s rejection of a popular EU deal, Russia has decided to sweeten the pot by dangling a $15 billion carrot in front of President Viktor Yanukovich’s face.

To entice the Ukraine into rejecting the calls of the protesters and signing a deal with Russia instead, Russian President Vladimir Putin made Yanukovich an offer he couldn’t refuse: $15 billion in loans and a hefty discount on natural gas prices. The offer was seen as giving the cash-strapped country an economic lifeline and apparently it worked; Yanukovich signed the Russian aid agreement in defiance of the mass protests in the capital, which called for closer ties to the EU and loosened ties to Russia.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has told ministers in Kiev that the package from Russia would provide stability and prevent the bankruptcy of the country.

“Today I can firmly announce that the crisis moment has passed,” the prime minister, Mykola Azarov said. “We have a new and firm perspective of confidence. We will maintain social and financial stability. Now, nothing threatens the financial and economic stability of Ukraine.”

Well, the hundreds of thousands of protesters calling for Yanukovich’s resignation and closer ties with the EU might threaten some stability, but whatever – the Ukraine got $15 billion! But in exchange for what?

Ukraine’s opposition has demanded to know what Ukraine offered Russia in return. Putin insisted that the financial assistance was not “tied to any conditions”, not even the condition that Ukraine must join a Moscow-led customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan. Although with a $15 billion gift, they’ll pretty much have to…

Via: The New York Times

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