The crisis began
when Ukrainians swept into the streets to protest President
Yanukovych’s abrupt refusal to sign an association agreement with
the European Union. Explaining that Ukraine was bankrupt and required
an immediate cash injection that the EU was unprepared to provide,
the president gratefully accepted a $15 billion bailout from an
obliging President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
the protests have morphed into a countrywide revolt against cronyism
and corruption, a political resolution is currently deadlocked, while
Ukraine’s beleaguered currency remains in freefall and its
bankrupted economy faces imminent collapse. A bellicose Putin is
using the unfolding drama to suborn Ukraine economically and
politically, in much the same way that Stalin attempted to leverage
the devastation in Europe to advance communism after World War II.
circumstances pose a clear geo-strategic choice to the EU, US and
Canada: can the West afford a poor, politically unstable, autocratic,
economically derelict nation of 46 million potential refugees on
Europe’s eastern border tethered to a poor, but aggressive Russia;
or is it in the West’s collective interests to embrace a
prosperous, democratically confident and economically stable Ukraine
firmly integrated into Europe?