Ukraine’s economy ‘on edge of an abyss’

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IOL pic feb24 ukraine memorial Reuters Photographs of people reported to have died during last week's clashes in Kiev are part of a makeshift memorial in the Little Ukraine section of the Manhattan borough of New York. Picture: Carlo Allegri

Kiev - Ukraine said on Monday that it needed $35 billion in foreign assistance over the next two years and appealed for urgent aid following the overthrow of its president.

The Finance Ministry said it had called for a donor's conference and needed the first aid in the next week or two.

Acting President Oleksander Turchinov, appointed after Viktor Yanukovich was stripped of his powers by Parliament on Saturday, said on Sunday that Ukraine was near default and the economy was falling into an abyss.

“Over the past two days, we have had consultations and meetings with the EU and U.S. ambassadors and other countries and financial institutions on the urgent delivery of macro-financial assistance for Ukraine,” Acting Finance Minister Yuri Kolobov said in a statement.

He said the international donor conference should involve representatives of the European Union, the United States and the International Monetary Fund.

Ukraine faces state debt payments of around $6 billion in the remainder of this year.

In an address to the nation, Turchinov on Sunday spelled out the enormity of the task facing Ukraine's new leadership, and identified stabilising the economy as a priority.

“Against the background of global economic recovery, the Ukrainian economy is heading into the abyss and is in a pre-default state,” he said.

“The task of the new government is to stop the country's slide into the abyss, to stabilise the exchange rate, guarantee the timely payment of salaries, pensions and stipends, and to regain the confidence of investors, promote the development of enterprises and the creation of new jobs.”

The Ukrainian currency, the hyrvnia, fell about 2.4 percent against the US dollar in early trading on Monday. - Reuters



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