Everyone wants to help Ukraine, but no one knows exactly how. Time is passing, nothing is changing. All tested methods of international aid have suffered defeat. Consultative, financial and military assistance has been tried more than once.
Ukraine as a bottomless pit absorbs aid without any substantial effect.
According to The Guardian, “over a year, living standards in Ukraine have fallen by half, the currency has lost 350% of its value, and inflation has skyrocketed to 43%. The economy has collapsed, internal policy can be termed as suicidal.” It seems as if Ukrainian governmental authorities think that the sources of help and patience of those who are willing to help are inexhaustible. Corruption and administrative impotence on the highest level have made needed reforms impossible. All experienced consultants who once gave advise to Ukraine on how to survive, including invited foreigners in the government, have turned out to be incompetent facing the fact that European methods are not working in this country. Lithuanian-born former Ukrainian Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius in his resignation speech in February said he wouldn’t be a “puppet” for officials he accused of blocking overhauls of the ex-Soviet republic’s economy and institutions. So, the consultative aid was absolutely ineffectual.
At the same time the economic situation continues to deteriorate.
Ukraine’s US-born Finance Minister Natalia Yaresko said on March 14 that the ongoing delay in securing a new tranche of financial aid from the International Monetary Fund was hitting confidence in the economy.
Ukraine was ready to submit a new memorandum needed to secure the money in February, but the resignation of the economy minister over corruption allegations derailed the process. Even if Ukraine submits the memorandum in March, it will have to wait until the IMF board meets in April to secure the money. In other words the future financial aid is a matter of further dispute.
The only kind of help that gives results even today is military assistance. The other question is what kind of results. And does Europe need such results? The new tensions with Russia, continuation of war, instability in the region will be the inevitable consequences of such aid. The most active suppliers of military assistance are the US and Canada. First of all because of their military and financial strength and… their distance from the “hot spot” in Europe.
It is always better to observe the military conflict from a safe distance. They even gain political dividends at the expense of Ukraine. The US Republican Presidential candidate John Kasich has promised to provide Ukraine
with lethal weapons in the first 100 days after wins the election. Do such people realize all the consequences? One thing is military training and the other one is lethal weapons. Is there in the world anything more important than money and political power. Canada also has been trying to play a bigger military role in Ukraine. On April 14, 2015, the Canadian government announced that it would deploy around 200 Canadian Armed Forces personnel to Ukraine until March 31, 2017. The more so Canada has sent $15 million in non-lethal material and equipment to Ukraine, $220 million in support of the Ukrainian economy, and $3 million to NATO Centres of Excellence (cyber security, energy security, and strategic communications).
Stability in Europe has no chance until Ukraine becomes a democratic state and is capable to make democratic reforms, until politicians stop to behaving as barbarians during Verkhovna Rada Sessions and start to respect themselves and the Ukrainian people. The other condition is foreign states’ awareness of the consequences of their actions and words. Only diplomatic steps can resolve the conflict, not the war. A small war could lead to a larger one with the involvement of more than two sides. Does Europe really want such a war?
*Adomas Abromaitis is a Lithuanian expatriate living in the United Kingdom.