Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON DC United States
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In February 2014, the Kremlin-supported government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych collapsed. The demise of the regime was brought about by bitter protests that had erupted in Kyivs Maidan Square in late 2013 over the governments decision to reject closer relations with the European Union EU and by civil societys reaction to a brutal government response to the Maidan protestors. In the wake of the turmoil of the Maidan, the country saw the emergence of a pro-Western government promising reform and an energized civil society generally anxious to lessen Moscows influence, committed to pressing for the implementation of serious reform measures, and determined to draw closer to Europe and the United States. Despite a commitment to reform and the initiation of a pro-Western political and economic orientation, throughout 2015 many felt the governmentled by President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyukmoved too slowly and cautiously in implementing anticorruption reform and achieving economic progress. The governments cautious approach, although moving in a positive direction, failed to impress a frustrated public and a still-skeptical international community, both of which demanded a faster implementation of change. By the beginning of 2016, Ukraine remained far from achieving the political and economic progress and internal security sought by supporters of the Maidan. As frustrations continued to mount, the government was confronted with the resignations of a popular, reform-minded economy minister and a deputy prosecutor and by warnings from the head of the International Monetary Fund IMF and several European nations that Ukraine risked losing continued international political and financial support if progress was not made.