Before the war in Donbas, the separatist regions were subsidized by Ukraine, with about $2.6 billion a year going to pensions and an additional $3.2 billion to coal subsidies. Now, rubles from Russia’s own strained budget are filling that subsidy gap, buying influence along the way, the New York Times newspaper reports.
“When we speak of soft power, Ukraine is just shooting itself in the foot” by losing economic sway over the rebel zones, said Oleksiy Melnyk, Co-director of Foreign Affairs and International Security programmes at the Razumkov Centre. …read more
Source: Razumkov Centre