03:17 GMT30 October 2020
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    The European Union will allocate an additional €18 million ($19 mln) in humanitarian aid for people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, according to a press release by the European Commission.

    The new aid package will help "humanitarian partners in eastern Ukraine to cover urgent medical, shelter, water and sanitation needs," according to Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

    The European Commission provides humanitarian assistance to people, irrespective of which conflict area they live in.

    "Around 50% of the Commission's humanitarian assistance targets people in need in non-government controlled areas," the press release read.

    Meanwhile, on February 20, United States Department of State Acting Spokesperson Mark Toner said that Washington calls on Kiev to strengthen anti-corruption efforts and implement its political and economic reforms.

    In a statement commemorating the third anniversary of "Ukraine’s revolution of dignity," Toner said that "three years ago, thousands of Ukrainians came together on the Maidan, Kyiv's central square, to demand that their voices be heard." According to him, "these Ukrainians peacefully called on their government to recognize their choice to join Europe."

    "Ukraine has made remarkable progress since then, but much work remains to be done to fulfill the promise of the Maidan," Toner said. He added that the United States "calls on Ukraine’s leaders to strengthen efforts to fight corruption and continue the political and economic reforms."

    "The United States will continue to stand with the Ukrainian people in this effort," he concluded.

    The West is applying a carrot and stick approach to Ukraine, according to Boris Shmelev, a senior analyst at the Institute of Economics, at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    "Ukrainian reforms are stalled. There are a lot of problems. This is why the European Union is pressuring Kiev not to abandon those reforms and implement them in the way they were coordinated with Brussels. At the same time, Kiev has to deal with public opposition," Shmelev told Radio Sputnik.

    The expert suggested that the West cannot afford to totally abandon Ukraine.

    "Now, Ukraine is like a suitcase without a handle for the West – one can neither carry it nor leave it behind. It is kind of a testing area for democratic and modernization ideas in the post-Soviet region. Moreover, Ukraine is geopolitically important for the West," he said.

    Shmelev continued: "At the same time, many in the West are discontent with Kiev’s actions and criticize the government. But the West cannot abandon Ukraine. It would be too much of a luxury."

    According to the economist, the current state of affairs will persist, regardless of who is in power in Kiev.

    "The West will continue to pressure the Ukrainian government to meet its obligations. Western partners will delay loans in order to give them later when there is progress in reforms. This is a game and it is expected to last for years," Shmelev pointed out.

    He added that any Ukraine government will take into account Brussels’ requirement and will "follow the line imposed by the West."

    "It may be more or less consistent, but in common, the vector of Ukraine’s development is already clear," he concluded.


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    humanitarian aid, reforms, European Union, Ukraine, US
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