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After a year at war, Ukraine at financial breaking point

A pack of stray dogs follow women walking past a burnt out shop in the Kievsky district of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on April 2, 2015Bruised and battered after a year of armed conflict, Ukraine has been crippled by a combination of monetary, budgetary, industrial, banking and energy crises that could make it dependent on outside help for decades. “Like many emerging markets, this has a direct effect on households, businesses and public finances, because both private and public debt is denominated in foreign currency,” said Julien Marcilly, chief economist at insurance firm Coface. Gross domestic product contracted 6.8 percent last year, according to official statistics and the central bank is bracing for a decline of as much as 7.5 percent in 2015. Ukraine is also suffering a debt crisis, with its proportion of public debt to gross domestic product (GDP) expected to spiral to 94 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund — from a healthy 40 percent in 2013.

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