Ukraine Acting President Warns Economy in Steep Decline

    06 March, 2014


    This is the VOA Learning English Economics Report.

    Protests in Ukraine let parliament to remove president Viktor Yanukovych last week. Parliament also voted for him to face trial in the International Criminal Court for crimes during the demonstrations that led to his ouster.

    The political crisis has hurt Ukraine's economy, which is struggled since 2009. Ukraine's acting president Oleksandr Turchynov says the economy is weak, although the world economy is improving.

    Ukraine's finance minister said in late February that the country needs $35 billion to survive this year and in 2015. Ukraine's economic problems increased during the huge street protests that led to the ouster of the pro-Russian president.

    Ukraine Acting President Warns Economy in Steep Decline
    The EU's Catherine Ashton meets with former Ukrainian leader Yulia Tymoshenko in Kyiv on Feb. 25, 2014.

    The United States and the European Union have expressed concern and a willingness to help. The EU says it would be ready for talks after Ukraine holds elections planned for May. Western nations have suggested Ukraine seek loans from the International Monetary Fund(IMF).

    Art Durnev is a professor of Finance at the University of Iowa. He has closely followed the problems in the Ukraine. He tells VOA that the country is in financial trouble because of corruption under former president Yanukovych.

    Representatives of the G20 group of major world economies met in Sydney, Australia at the end of February. At the meeting, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said there was widespread support from G20 leaders for IMF aid to Ukraine, he also stressed the importance of Ukraine carrying out reforms.

    Ukraine's economy has depended on low cost natural gas supplies imported from Russia, now those supplies are threatened. Former president Yanukovych rejected a free trade and association agreement with the European Union, instead, Ukraine accepted a promise of $15 billion in aid from Russia. But since the ouster of Mr. Yanukovych, Russia has announced it would withhold payments.

    Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov has said Ukraine "must return to the family of European countries," however, he also noted, in his words, "the importance of our relations with Russia."

    Ukraine is a large country with a population of 44 million people, but the country's economic production is relatively low.

    And that is the Economics Report from VOA Learning English. For more programs, visit our website, We are also on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, iTunes and Twitter. I'm Mario Ritter.