‘Bankrupt' Ukraine cannot pay for needed reforms to join Europe

“Bankrupt” Ukraine has huge sovereign debt and needs reforms to make its association with Europe feasible, but no one is going to pay for it, Anna van Densky, political commentator from the EU Reporter magazine, told RT.

RT:With the ceasefire between Kiev and east Ukrainian rebels holding and agreements now being implemented - could this be the beginning of the end of the Ukrainian conflict?

Anna van Densky: It could be but I`m very cautious because now we have a declaration. Basically we have to see the implementation. That is the serious thing. The Ukrainian state is in profound crisis and President Poroshenko is largely a president of Kiev. The problem is if he really has power to implement this declaration, to implement this bill, and that we will see in coming weeks. The Ukrainian state is so weak at the moment and there are so many forces which are unleashed and they are out of control. So we can`t really say if these agreements, if this step towards peace will be respected on the ground.

A Lugansk resident walks past a building damaged by artillery shelling. (RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov)

RT:What exactly do you think the special status granted Tuesday to east Ukrainian regions will mean in reality, considering Kiev's refusal to acknowledge the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as independent?

AD: I think there is a big problem. First of all, there are more layers here; there is an international layer, a layer of global geopolitical game because as we know the United States is very eager to move its infrastructure and to engage Ukraine into NATO.This is one level. The other level is the level of the European Union. They have their own interest because they are seeing Ukraine as a competitor of their agricultural products. They are interested to conquer Ukrainian markets and to trade with Russia directly. So there are also different interests of political groups within Ukraine. As we knew before and as we know now there’re political groups even like Christian Democrats who were fighting with each other. The Ukrainian state resembles somehow a medieval state with a lot of political clans that are fighting with each other, and, of course, there is the terrible monster of nationalism that was born at Maidan Square. So if we look at all these different forces that are tearing up the country it is very difficult to predict how really it will go, how they will develop. If really there is this centralized force, if there is a real state behind it to implement. Now I take it as an intention. We are very far away from real peace because real peace will be on the ground. And what we hear from there, they are still fighting or they are still shelling. So that is not ideal ceasefire we expected it to be.

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Locals at the outdoor market which appeared at the site of a city market destroyed by an artillery attack. (RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov)

RT:The parliaments of both the EU and Ukraine have ratified an association agreement.Kiev says it will come into force in 24 hours, but Brussels says not until late 2015.How do you read that?

AD: I think that here the crucial forces are of course Europe because Europe is initiator of this policy and Europe is the major source of this conflict. As we know President Yanukovich lost power because he said exactly what the European Union is saying now: that it is too early because whole sectors of economy would suffer if this association agreement was implemented immediately. What happens now basically is a very frustrating because we see that President Yanukovich was actually chased away for nothing because what he said was absolutely right: “The country is not ready.” Nobody wants to see 45 million Ukrainians - half the population- unemployed. Europe was very adventurous in its policies. Now it is very clear that the paradox of these policies that there was a huge ambition to show that Europe is very much desirable and they wanted to give some result to Europeans to show: “Look, Ukrainians are so eager to become part of Europe.” But what is it in reality: Ukraine is a state which is bankrupt, they have huge sovereign debt and nobody is going to pay the reforms, because reform of the country - to make this relationship with Europe feasible - is very far away. We don’t know who can pay the reforms because still they should serve their sovereign debt. There are a lot of problems, but I think that still it is a happy day in the sense that we see that country is moving in the right direction.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.