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Time to Extricate from Ukraine

October 17, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Recently Ukraine has been thrown into the spotlight as Democrats gear up to impeach President Donald Trump. More important, though, is its role in damaging America’s relations with Russia, which has resulted in a mini-Cold War that the U.S. needs to end.


Ukraine is in a bad neighborhood. During the 17th century, the country was divided between Poland and Russia, and eventually ended up as part of the Russian Empire. Kiev then enjoyed only the briefest of liberations after the 1917 Russian Revolution, before being reabsorbed by the Soviet Union. It later suffered from a devastating famine as Moscow confiscated food and collectivized agriculture. Ukraine was ravaged during Germany’s World War II invasion, and guerrilla resistance to renewed Soviet control continued for years afterwards.

In 1991, the collapse of the U.S.S.R. gave Ukraine another, more enduring chance for independence. However, the new nation’s development was fraught: GDP dropped by 60 percent and corruption burgeoned. Ukraine suffered under a succession of corrupt, self-serving, and ineffective leaders, as the U.S., Europe, and Russia battled for influence.



In 2014, Washington and European governments backed a street putsch against the elected, though highly corrupt, pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. The Putin government responded by annexing Crimea and backing separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region. Washington and Brussels imposed economic sanctions on Russia and provided military aid to Kiev.

The West versus Russia quickly became a “frozen” conflict. Moscow reincorporated Crimea into Russia, from which it had been detached in 1954 as part of internal Soviet politics. In the Donbass, more than a score of ceasefires came and went. Both Ukraine and Russia failed to fulfill the 2016 Minsk agreements, which sought to end the conflict.

In excess of 13,000 people, mostly Ukrainians, are known to have died in this war, and some two million have been forced from their homes. The economy of eastern Ukraine has collapsed. Ukraine has suffered through painful economic dislocation and political division. Meanwhile, several …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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