Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ukraine Says Economy in ‘Critical State,’ Russia Uncertain Over Aid

Ukraine’s parliament speaker and interim president said on Sunday the national economy was in a “critical state” hours after Russia made it clear that it was yet undecided on planned financial aid to its neighbor. "The situation in Ukraine, first of all in its economy, is disastrous. The rule of [Viktor] Yanukovych has driven the economy to the brink of a catastrophe,” Oleksandr Turchynov said, calling for a soonest formation of a new cabinet. The acting president said the account of the country’s treasury was “absolutely empty” and the country’s pension fund, national currency and banking system were facing “immense problems.” Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov warned earlier in the day that Moscow would put on hold the planned purchase of Ukrainian eurobonds as part of its financial aid to Kiev until Ukraine formed a new government. The purchase of $2 billion Ukrainian eurobonds was to be the second tranche of Russia's $15 billion aid package to its neighbor, agreed between President Vladimir Putin and Yanukovych in December. “We indeed discussed the purchase of eurobonds last week. But since the situation in Ukraine has changed dramatically, we should understand with what government we will cooperate. We plan to wait until a new government is formed to understand its economic policy,” Siluanov told journalists at the G20 meeting in Sydney.

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