Ukraine’s parliament passed a budget Christmas Eve, taking an important step toward ensuring that IMF bailout funds will continue to flow to Kyiv. The Financial Times:
Ukraine’s parliament adopted crucial tax amendments, a 2016 budget and other related laws in tense – at times sleepy — voting that stretched from Thursday morning past midnight, into the early hours of Christmas Day.Though dramatic, the development eased fears that mounting political infighting within a shaky ruling coalition could derail the contested laws that are key to preserving the war-scarred country’s $40bn international lifeline led by the International Monetary Fund.After bitter clashes in past weeks with the government of embattled Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk, a majority of MPs rubberstamped a compromise package of legislation in voting that ended just after 4am.
It’s a piece of good news for Ukraine and the West, which would have been put in an awkward spot if the IMF had had to decide whether to cut off Kyiv. It is, of course, a continuation of the status quo for Ukraine, and the status quo is better for Russia than it is for anyone else. But Putin is very happy to see the IMF and Ukraine fight, so avoiding such tension is a good thing for the West. On the whole, 2015 hasn’t been a great year for Kyiv. The question in 2016 is whether the West will step up its efforts or continue to do the minimum possible to confront Moscow.