Ukraine gets a lucky break
Ukraine’s position is improving noticeably even if it is being threatened by Russian troop movements and I’m beginning to get more optimistic as it has had a run of luck.Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy was just in Qatar where he did a string of deals and big investment projects into ports, rail, construction and trade that will bring in some real money.He then went on to Turkey where he not only did more deals, but Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan unexpectedly threw in his lot with Ukraine (and by extension with the US and Nato) against Russia by declaring Turkey doesn’t recognise Russia’s Crimean annexation and at the same time promising to sell Ukraine more drones. These are particularly lethal drones that Russia will struggle to counter on the battlefield. And Turkey has some real clout with Russia. This is a very useful tie up for the embattled Ukraine. For his part Erdogan is looking at improving his regional influence and that means making trouble for Russia.Let’s just say that Moscow is not happy and banned charter flights to Turkey that will cost Erdogan some $5bn in lost tourist revenue. That is what makes Erdogan’s comments so remarkable as the Kremlin’s response was predictable and given the shape of the Turkish economy – its running on fumes – Erdogan’s tough line on Russia came out of the blue.But the really big piece of good luck is the Ukraine may receive $2.7bn from the IMF this summer as a “gift” under a plan cooked by the International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva to allocate $650bn from international reserves to restore the world economy after the coronavirus crisis.The money is designed to bolster the growth of weaker countries that are grappling with the tail end of the pandemic and as Ukraine’s current $5bn Stand By Agreement with the IMF deal is currently suspended economists were wondering how Kyiv will pay off some $16bn of debt that matures this year. An extra $2.7bn will come in very useful indeed.