Ukraine has weakest economy in Europe & govt is to blame, ex-PM says
Ukraine’s GDP is the lowest in Europe, the country’s former prime minister and opposition MP, Yulia Timoshenko, said on Tuesday. She blasted the government for creating the current energy crisis, rising prices, and inflation.
“The poverty that you proposed to end is not just preserved – for the first time in the history of Ukraine as an independent state we ranked last on the European continent in terms of GDP. And all of you must report and tell the people about this,” Timoshenko said, as quoted on her party’s website.
However, the former prime minister’s attack on the government may have more to do with her political ambitions. GDP levels are notoriously unreliable when it comes to measuring living standards in countries like Ukraine. The country operates largely on a black and gray economy, which distorts the picture of how much the population actually earns. Prices for goods are also significantly lower than they are in developed economies. A more accurate picture would be represented by purchasing power parity (PPP), which would bolster Ukraine’s place in the rankings.
Timoshenko said that it was the authorities who brought the country to the current energy crisis, which caused a surge in prices and inflation. She called for the Verkhovna Rada legislature to intervene in the situation.
“I would like us to immediately discuss this issue, because it directly affects the income of every family. And against this background, there is no indexation of wages, pensions or social benefits,” she pointed out.
Last month, Timoshenko also slammed authorities in Kiev for artificially creating the energy crisis in the country by failing to extract its own gas and fill Ukraine’s underground storage facilities on time, as well as not providing the country with enough coal. She said that thanks to her country’s own government, Ukraine has been “practically brought to our knees,” adding that Kiev is fully dependent on Moscow and Minsk in terms of energy supplies.
Kiev officials have repeatedly claimed that Russia plans to cut Ukraine off from vital gas supplies and the funds it gets for gas transit from Russia to Europe. Moscow has denied those claims, stressing that no such plans exist.
Ukraine’s budget for the current year was adopted with a 5.5% GDP deficit and estimated inflation of 7.3%, Tass reported, citing President Vladimir Zelensky’s press service. However, according to recent statements from Ukraine’s National Bank, overall inflation for 2021 may reach 10%.
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