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Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

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Congressional rept.

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After a failed effort to violently disperse pro-European Union protests, the government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych collapsed on February 21, 2014. The Ukrainian parliament approved a new pro-Western government in February. Russia responded to the change of government in Kyiv by seizing Ukraine s Crimea region and annexing it on March 18. In April and May, armed pro-Russian separatists seized areas of the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which was made possible by men, weaponry and leadership from Russia. Ukrainian forces regrouped and made substantial gains against the separatists in July and August, but in late August and early September, U.S. and NATO officials say Russia stepped up its support to the separatists, including by deploying several thousand Russian troops to fight in Ukraine. Both the Russian troops and the separatists have been supplied with hundreds of tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, surface-to-air missiles, and other military equipment from Russia. As a result, Ukrainian forces have lost ground and may lose more if Russia continues to press its offensive. Ukraine has long-standing problems in attracting foreign investment, in part due to rampant corruption and other shortcomings in the rule of law. The war has added to these problems, including the destruction of infrastructure in the Donbas and a steep drop in the value of Ukraine s currency. The Ukrainian government has received the first two installments of a 17 billion IMF loan designed to stabilize its finances. However, the IMF has warned that if the war continues, Ukraine could need another 19 billion in financing. The European Union unveiled an 11.1 billion Euro about 15.5 billion aid package for Ukraine. The EU has imposed sanctions on over 70 persons from Ukraine and Russia held responsible for undermining Ukraine s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as key state-owned firms in Russia.

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  • Government and Political Science

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