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FACT SHEET: International Support for Ukraine
President Obama has made clear that the United States will continue to support the Government of Ukraine, including economically. We have been working closely with international partners to develop an assistance package that will provide rapid financial and technical assistance to help Ukraine restore economic stability and conduct free, fair, and inclusive new elections that will allow the Ukrainian people to continue to make democratic choices about their future.
The new Ukrainian government has inherited an economy with enormous potential but that is currently financially fragile and uncompetitive. The Government of Ukraine has said publicly that it will work to meet these urgent challenges. As the government implements important reforms, the United States will work with its bilateral and multilateral partners to ensure that Ukraine has sufficient financing to restore financial stability and return to growth.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is already engaging to help stabilize the Ukrainian economy. We understand that an IMF mission is currently in Kyiv working with the Ukrainian government at their request. The IMF will be at the front lines of an international package for Ukraine and is positioned to support robust and market-oriented reforms needed to restore Ukraine to economic health, including via providing large-scale financing and technical support. At the same time, the United States is working alongside international partners and the Government of Ukraine to assemble a package of assistance to complement and support an IMF program.
As part of this international effort, the United States has developed a package of bilateral assistance focused on meeting Ukraine’s most pressing needs and helping Ukraine to enact the reforms needed to make its IMF program a success. We are working with Congress to approve the 2010 IMF quota legislation, which would support the IMF’s capacity to lend additional resources to Ukraine, while also helping to preserve continued U.S. leadership within this important institution. We are ready to work with Congress and the Government of Ukraine to provide U.S. loan guarantees and other financial and technical assistance to address Ukraine’s four most urgent needs:
· Critical assistance with economic reforms, including by cushioning their impact on vulnerable Ukrainians: The U.S. Administration is working with Congress and the Government of Ukraine to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees aimed at helping insulate vulnerable Ukrainians from the effects of reduced energy subsidies. At the same time, the United States is moving quickly to provide technical expertise to help the National Bank of Ukraine and the Ministry of Finance address their most pressing challenges. The United States is dispatching highly experienced technical advisors to help the Ukrainian financial authorities manage immediate market pressures. The United States will also provide expertise to help Ukraine implement critical energy sector reforms.
· Conducting free, fair, and inclusive elections: The United States will provide technical assistance to train election observers, help bring electoral processes in line with international standards, and promote robust participation by civil society organizations and a free and independent media.
· Combatting corruption and recovering stolen assets: The United States is preparing to help the government respond to the clear demands of the Ukrainian people for more robust safeguards against corruption and additional efforts to recover assets stolen from the people of Ukraine. The United States will support the government as it takes tangible steps to reduce corruption and increase transparency, including in areas such as e-government and public procurement. The United States is deploying an interagency team of experts to Kyiv this week to begin to work with their Ukrainian counterparts to identify assets that may have been stolen, identify their current location, and assist in returning those assets to Ukraine.
· Withstanding politically motivated trade actions by Russia, including in the area of energy: The United States is preparing to provide technical advice to the Ukrainian government on Ukraine’s WTO rights with respect to trade with Russia. At the same time the United States is ready to provide assistance and financing to help Ukrainian businesses find new export markets and adjust to trade pressures and to enhance energy efficiency, helping to reduce dependence on imported gas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin pulled his forces back from the Ukrainian border on Tuesday yet said Moscow reserves the right to use all means to protect Russians in Ukraine. He accused the West of encouraging an anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine and driving it onto anarchy and declared that any sanctions the West places on Russia will backfire.
It was Putin's first comments since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev last month and landed in Russia. Ukraine's new government wants to put him on trial for the deaths of over 80 people during protests in Kiev.
Tensions remained high Tuesday in the strategic Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, with troops loyal to Moscow firing warning shots to ward off protesting Ukrainian soldiers. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was en route to Kiev, where Ukraine's new government is based.
Yet world markets seemed to recover from their fright over the situation in Ukraine, clawing back a large chunk of Monday's stock losses, while oil, gold, wheat and the Japanese yen have given back some of their gains.
"Confidence in equity markets has been restored as the standoff between Ukraine and Russia is no longer on red alert," said David Madden, market analyst at IG.
Speaking from his residence outside Moscow, Putin said he considers Yanukovych to still be Ukraine's leader and hopes that Russia won't need to use force in predominantly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.
He did say, however, that Yanukovych has no political future and Russia gave him shelter only to save his life.
Putin accused the West of using Yanukovych's decision in November to ditch a pact with the 28-nation European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia to encourage the months of protests that drove him from power.
Earlier Tuesday, the Kremlin said Putin had ordered tens of thousands of Russian troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine's border to return to their bases. The massive military exercise in western Russia involving 150,000 troops, hundreds of tanks and dozens of aircraft was supposed to wrap up anyway, so it was not clear if Putin's move was an attempt to heed the West's call to de-escalate the crisis that has put Ukraine's future on the line.
It came as Kerry was on his way to Kiev to meet with the new Ukrainian leadership that deposed the pro-Russian Yanukovych and has accused Moscow of a military invasion in Crimea. The Kremlin, which does not recognize the new Ukrainian leadership, insists it made the move in order to protect Russian installations in Ukraine and its citizens living there.
Mikheil Saakashvili, former president of Georgia, joined Antonio Mora on the March 3, 2014 edition of Consider This.
Antonio Mora: I want to start with asking you: Russia went to war with your country when you were President in 2008 over two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Do you think that pattern is repeating itself again, that this time it’s over Crimea, possibly East Ukraine? And do you think Putin was in some way emboldened by what happened in Georgia six years ago?
Mikheil Saakashvili: Well, first of all, for me it’s a totally feeling of déjà vu because exactly this same thing happened eight years ago — sorry, [in] 2008 — when what happened really was that there was preparation for this whole thing. [At that time], Russia was acting through, first with proxies — there were arming them, they were doing our provocations. Then, later, they came in with the pretext of safeguarding their minorities, which is to say, both in Russia and Ukraine — in Georgia and Ukraine — they are distributing Russian passports to these people so that they could claim that they have title to Russian citizens that were under threat there. In both cases, they had mass-scale military trainings and in both cases they conducted war propaganda.
Although, I have to mention that in both cases they didn’t go only after regions, I think the goal in Georgia was to depose my government, [cause instability, for their position in the region] and I think it’s exactly the same goal in Ukraine. Putin doesn’t really want Crimea or the Eastern regions. He wants to take over or at least generate permanent chaos in Ukraine under the government in Kiev and these are openly proclaimed goals.Russian forces seized control of the border guard checkpoint on the Ukrainian side of the ferry crossing between Russia and Crimea, and began bringing in truckloads of soldiers by ferry on Monday evening, Ukrainian border guards said.
In Putin's eyes, the United States may struggle to claim any moral high ground. Some Russian and European commentators point out that the United States intervened in Kosovo in 1999 and invaded Iraq in 2003 without United Nations approval. And Russian officials have repeatedly said they regret supporting the UN-backed 2011 NATO intervention in Libya. Russian officials and some Western commentators have portrayed all of those interventions as Western plots to weaken Russia or destabilize countries in the Balkans and the Middle East.
American officials flatly reject those interpretations. They argue that Russia and other authoritarian rulers are cynically manipulating facts and spreading false conspiracy theories to justify the use of military force to enhance their own power. They point out that sweeping violence had erupted in Kosovo and Libya, threatening large number of civilians. Both interventions also came after months of diplomatic efforts and international public debate. And even the much-criticized invasion of Iraq came after a decade-long cat-and-mouse game between Saddam Hussein and United Nations weapons inspectors, and a year-long effort by the Bush administration to win UN support.
The United States is suspending all military engagements with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine including military exercises and port visits, the Pentagon announced Monday.Read the full statement from Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby:
Although the Department of Defense finds value in the military-to-military relationship with the Russian Federation we have developed over the past few years to increase transparency, build understanding, and reduce the risk of military miscalculation we have, in light of recent events in Ukraine, put on hold all military-to-military engagements between the United States and Russia. This includes exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits and planning conferences.
The Defense Department is closely monitoring the situation and remains in close contact with the State Department and interagency, along with our Allies, Partners and NATO. We call on Russia to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine and for Russian forces in Crimea to return to their bases, as required under the agreements governing the Russia Black Sea Fleet.
Some media outlets are speculating on possible ship movements in the region. There has been no change to our military posture in Europe or the Mediterranean; our Navy units continue to conduct routine, previously planned operations and exercises with allies and partners in the region.