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From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.
Street protests in Ukraine led parliament to remove President Victor Yanukovych last month. Parliament ordered him sent to the International Criminal Court to be tried for what it called serious crimes. The political crisis has hurt Ukraine’s economy, which has struggled since 2009. Ukraine is a large country, with 44 million citizens. Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said in late February that the economy is growing weaker. He said the country will soon need money to pay its debts. Ukraine’s finance ministry said it needs $35 billion to survive this year and in 2015. The economic problems worsened during the protests that led to the ouster of Mr. Yanukovych. The European Union and the United States have expressed concern and a willingness to help. The EU has said it would be ready for talks with Ukraine after it holds elections, set for May. Western nations have suggested that the country seek loans from the International Monetary Fund. Art Durnev is a professor of finance at the University of Iowa. He has closely followed developments in Ukraine. He says the country is in financial trouble because of corruption under the former President. Mr. Yanukovych rejected agreements with the EU. Instead, Ukraine accepted a promise of aid from Russia. But since his ouster, Russia has announced it plans to delay the assistance. Ukraine’s economy has depended on low cost natural gas from Russia. Now those gas supplies are threatened. Acting President Turchynov has said Ukraine “must return to [the] family of European Countries.” But he also noted the importance of his country’s relations with Russia.