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Commentary By Judith Miller

Ukraine Has Many Problems, and Only One of Them Is Russia

Public Safety National Security & Terrorism

It has overcome challenges that would have destroyed a less determined country, but there’s trouble ahead.

Ukraine will soon enter the fourth year of a low-intensity war with Russia. More than 7% of its territory remains occupied by its aggressive neighbor. Will Ukraine survive as a free, independent, pro-Western nation?

“It’s 50-50,” a veteran European diplomat who knows the region well told me this weekend in Kiev. His gloomy assessment was echoed by many of the 350 current and former officials, academics, businessmen and journalists attending the 14th annual Yalta European Strategy conference, a two-day gathering sponsored by pro-Western oligarch Victor Pinchuk that has become a popular stop on Europe’s conference circuit. While Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko expressed confidence in his country’s future, concerns surfaced repeatedly at the meeting’s sessions and more often in quiet, candid conversations.

To its credit, Ukraine has overcome challenges that could have destroyed a less determined country. Russia’s invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its continuing occupation of part of the Donbas region, Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland, initially threatened to turn the country into a financial and political basket case. After the invasion, gross domestic product fell 17%, inflation soared to more than 60%, and Ukraine’s currency lost nearly 60% of its value. Yet after two years of contraction, Ukraine’s economy stabilized in 2016 and has started growing again. According to World Bank projections, it will grow by 3.5% in 2018 and 4% in 2019. Moody’s recently upgraded Ukraine’s creditworthiness from stable to positive. And this week, Ukraine is returning to the sovereign debt market by issuing $2.5 billion in new Eurobonds, the most important reflection to date of its remarkable recovery.

Read the entire piece here at The Wall Street Journal


Judith Miller is an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a Fox News contributor, and a contributing editor of City Journal.

This piece originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal