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German investors disappointed in Ukraine

The Kerch Strait incident is negating Poroshenko

30.11.2018 12:04 Pavel Alexandrov, an international observer

German investors disappointed in Ukraine

              What has President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko attained by his provocation in the Kerch Strait? His stake on delaying the presidential election given his extremely low rating has failed. Neither the three former Ukrainian presidents, nor the Verkhovna Rada obviously believed his theory of "Russia's provocation". The parliament refused to introduce martial law for more than 30 days, confirming the constitutional data of the election, March 31, 2019. As for the West's reaction, it limited itself to standard but rather sluggish accusations in relation to Russia. Poroshenko's hopes for military assistance and new urgent anti-Russian sanctions are unlikely to become a reality, just as Kyiv's intention to again besmirch Russia. In general, it all looks rather ridiculous.

            For example, the Maerkische Allgemeine Zeitung (MAZ) newspaper does not hide its disappointment with actions of the current Kyiv "strategists," as the Kerch Strait conflict occurred right ahead of a German-Ukrainian investment conference scheduled to be taking place in Berlin this week. "German businessmen are alarmed. Trade relations with Ukraine will be damaged greatly without maritime traffic," the Potsdam-based newspaper wrote. Political and what is more military conflicts "have never made German businessmen happy, and they are absolutely amiss in case with Ukraine," it said. On Thursday, the German-Ukrainian forum was to be attended by high-ranking guests, such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and President of the German Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry Eric Schweitzer.

            Initially, the task of this meeting of German and Ukrainian business elites was to search for new opportunities of economic cooperation, and "now it is feared that the conflict with Russia over the Kerch Strait will come to a forefront," MAZ said. "The situation in the Sea of Azov is alarming. A new big fire may be sparked by such a conflict due to a fragile status quo in eastern Ukraine," spokesperson for the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations Ute Kochlowski-Kadjaia said, noting that the ports of Berdiansk and Mariupol are important for Ukraine's foreign trade.

            However, it seems that Poroshenko's aspiration to remain atop Ukraine's political scene at any cost (even at the expense of the lives of Ukrainian Navy sailors) is much more important than the state's economic interests. Meanwhile, Ukraine is the second largest Germany's foreign economic partner outside of the EU after Russia. There are about 2,000 companies involving German capital in Ukraine, and the German-Ukrainian Chamber of Industry and Commerce has operated in Kyiv since late 2016.

            After several years of plummeting, German-Ukrainian trade grew 22% in 2017 reaching 6.6 billion euros, and this positive trend persisted in 2018, MAZ said. According to data of nine months of 2018, bilateral trade grew almost 7%, with Ukrainian exports to German soaring by 17% and imports by 3%. Ms. Kochlowski-Kadjaia believes that the escalation of the conflict "can again hinder this positive development, as grain, steel, coal, automobiles, and industrial equipment are transported by sea through the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea from the east to the west and from the west to the east."

            However, such risks mean little to Poroshenko. It is likely that he is seeing "the bad scene" of losing the presidential election all the time, which may result in his trial for crimes against the people of Ukraine committed by his clan. And a multi-billion fortune earned by "honest work" would not help in this situation. Meanwhile, Ukraine's population is getting poorer. According to the World Bank, Ukraine has the lowest GDP per capita in Europe, which stands at $2,390. For example, the figure stands at $44,500 in Germany, the Wirtschaftswoche economic weekly said. One fourth of Ukrainians live below the subsistence level, while this figure had stood at 14% before the Euromaidan. So, Ukraine would have long been bankrupt without IMF tranches, Wirtschaftswoche said.

            In general, a lot of various dirty tricks may be expected from the nationalistic junta in Kyiv. The tragedy of the situation is that Poroshenko no more fears blood, blood of the Ukrainian people first of all. He is ready for everything for power and money.

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