Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has admitted that in the past three years the country’s government has failed to improve living standards of people.
“There is one very important obstacle that has hampered the majority of Ukrainians to feel obvious benefits of closer relations with Europe. Regrettably, we have failed to come closer to European standards in the past three years,” he said on Monday when Ukraine is marking the Day of Dignity and Freedom.
The Ukrainian president explained this failure by extensive spending on the army. “We had to spend more than five percent of the gross domestic product on the defense and security sector, on creating a new army,” Poroshenko said. “Each penny spent on the army was spent right.”
Other reasons, in his words, were “the closure of the Russian market, unfavorable external economic situation and delayed reforms.”
According to the United Nations’ survey of living standards in Ukraine, most of Ukrainians are living below the poverty level, which means they can afford to spend less than five U.S. dollars, or about 130 hryvnias under the current exchange rate, a day. According to the United Nations experts, incomes of up to 80% of Ukrainians are below this index. Thus, the actual minimum income level for survival in Ukraine is 33.5 hryvnias, or 1.5 U.S. dollars, a day.