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Fitch downgrades Ukraine's credit rating as political protests put financial stability at risk

LONDON - A major ratings agency has slashed Ukraine's credit grade amid concerns that the political turmoil afflicting the country will threaten the public finances.

Ukraine has seen popular protests for over two months since the government's decision to reject closer ties with the European Union in favour of Russia.

Russia has promised Ukraine $15 billion in aid, but has disbursed only $3 billion as it waits to see whether Ukraine's president stays in power.

Citing concern that Russia might pull its support, Fitch cut Ukraine's credit rating from B- to CCC, its lowest grade for a country not defaulting on its debt.

Fitch said it "no longer" assumes that Russia will deliver in full, and noted that Ukraine can no longer raise money on its own in bond markets.

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