One of the world’s leading credit rating agencies has downgraded Ukraine in light of political uncertainty and violent clashes in the capital Kiev.
Standard & Poor’s said the downgrade reflected “our view that the political situation has deteriorated substantially”.
It downgraded the economy by one notch, from CCC+ to CCC.
Ukrainians are protesting about the government’s plans to forge closer ties with Russia rather than with Europe.
S&P also put Ukraine on a “negative outlook”, suggesting further downgrades could be possible.
“We believe [the current situation] raises uncertainty regarding the continued provision of Russian financial support over the course of 2014, and puts the government’s capability to meet debt service at increasing risk,” the agency said in a statement.
“We consider that the future of the current Ukrainian leadership is now more uncertain than at any time since the protests began in November 2013.”
The protests began in November last year after President Viktor Yanukovych’s government rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union in November 2013 in favour of stronger ties with Russia.
Russia has promised financial assistance and cheaper energy prices in return.