Fitch downgraded Ukraine’s credit rating on Friday, casting doubt on the viability of Ukraine’s economy, which has been ravaged by a brutal internal conflict between a government that seeks to move closer to Europe economically and a pro-Russian separatist contingent.
Fitch downgraded Ukraine’s rating from “CCC” to “CC,” according to France 24. A CC credit rating denotes “that default of some kind appears probable.” CC is the second-lowest credit rating before RD and D, both of which are given to nations that are failing to pay back certain loans but have not entered default or are currently in default.
The value of Ukraine’s hryvnia has plummeted over the last year as the war took its toll and expanded from a small, localized armed resistance to an all-out war. Ukraine and its Western allies, including the U.S., NATO, France and Germany, accused Russia of supplying pro-Russian rebels with sophisticated military equipment that has evened what would have been a conflict heavily in favor of the Ukrainian military.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spent 17 hours on Thursday into Friday in Minsk, Belarus, to work out the second large-scale peace deal for Ukraine. Merkel said she had “no illusions” about the viability of the deal, which many critics say will in all likelihood fall apart. The peace agreement is nearly identical to an agreement signed in Minsk in September, which fell apart within weeks and led to some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict.
The International Monetary Fund announced a $17.5 billion loan to Ukraine on Thursday, but it did not stop the slide in the hryvnia’s price. The EU and U.S. both pledged $2 billion in aid as well. The IMF earmarked a total of $40 billion to pay out to Ukraine over the next four years, according to the New York Times.
Ukraine's apparent adversary in the conflict, Russia, has also experienced financial losses over the last year. Falling oil prices and Western economic sanctions over Russia's alleged support for Ukrainian rebels prompted both Fitch and Standard & Poors to downgrade Russia's sovereign credit rating over the last six months. Fitch downgraded Russia to BBB- in early January, according to Reuters. See all sovereign credit ratings here, via Trading Economics.