Many Ukrainian lives were lost as its citizens took to the streets and fought for democracy. Their efforts were not in vain, as the revolution resulted in the removal of President Viktor Yanukovych and planted the seeds for what billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros refers to as a new Ukraine.
This new Ukraine seeks to unite itself with the European Union and embody its values; the perfect tonic for what ails it at the moment. Yet these changes are at risk of being undone at the hands of Russian aggression. George Soros has implored the EU to do everything in its power to ensure Ukraine’s success by warning that the country’s failure could lead to a second Cold War.
Shortly after the ouster of the pro-Russian Yanukovych, Ukraine’s new government sought to implement ambitious reforms that flew in the face of the country’s previous ideology. Yet, old habits die hard, and remnants of the old Ukraine have made life difficult for the reformists.
This difficulty was exacerbated when Russian troops invaded the sovereign nation and seized Crimea. The end result was a Ukraine that could no longer meet its debt obligations or fund programs to implement what it called “big bang” reforms.
The bickering amongst EU members has emboldened the Russian leader. His decision to annex Crimea was popular amongst his constituents and made easier by the bloc’s constant distractions with each other.
George Soros – Project Syndicate
While the sanctions imposed on Russia as retribution for its aggression have been sever and painful, Putin has been able to successfully argue that Russia’s financial struggles are the result of Western hostility.
If Ukraine falls, Russia will also grow in influence and offer nations an alternative to the European Union. This outcome would be a devastating blow to the EU and everything it represents.
In order to avoid this scenario, Ukraine must receive the funding it requires to implement reforms and defend itself against Russia. George Soros has argued that this can be achieved through a number of different measures, including sovereign debt relief, and offering Ukraine the ability to borrow at same interest rates as EU members.
He established his Renaissance Foundation in Ukraine long before the nation won its independence and continues to stand ready to aid its pro-European ambitions. European leaders should answer his call and do the same.
Putin has shown a willingness to use force to achieve his global ambitions, and is promoting an ethnic national ideology to drum up support. A new Ukraine not only undermines Putin’s political arguments back home, but also forces him to abandon his military aggression.
Saving Ukraine is the one act that boosts both the security and health of every EU member while simultaneously unifying the bloc.
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