In Background, Ukraine

Interview with Professor Stephen Cohen, on The John Batchelor Show, May 26, 2015

Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, image by Gleb Garanich, Reuters

Ukraine’s currency, the hryvnia, image by Gleb Garanich, Reuters

Introduction published on The Nation: Stephen Cohen, contributing editor at The Nation, joined The John Batchelor Show (radio) on May 26 to discuss the series of setbacks facing those looking for a peaceful end to the Ukraine crisis—especially the problems facing the Ukrainian economy.

Cohen explained that Ukraine’s economy had been in a “complete meltdown”—unable to balance its budget or to pay its bills or sovereign debt—long before the crisis started. At the recent summit meeting of the European Union in Riga, Latvia, Ukraine was unable to obtain the money it needed. Further, it was was told, “No, you’re not going to be a member of the European Union and you won’t get visa-free travel to Europe”, Cohen said. He believes that it appears the EU will not bail out Ukraine’s government debt because it is directing this money to Greece.

On top of this economic instability, Cohen said, is an increasing crisis of political faith. According to a recent poll, only 17 percent of Ukrainians approve of the president’s performance. The same poll also showed that only 1 percent of Ukrainians “see the government as fulfilling its obligations.”

“Unfolding before our eyes is a deepening economic, financial, political and military crisis in Kiev,” Cohen said. “The regime is becoming wobbly. It can’t do anything except call for war.”


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