Russia Says no Multilateral Talks on Ukraine Aid Yet
Moscow – No multilateral talks are being held on forming a financial aid package for Ukraine, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak said on Wednesday, adding that a solution to Kiev’s economic crisis must be found quickly. Storchak told Reuters that if any talks were under way on a financial package for Ukraine, they were taking place only at a national level, and that high-level international groups of experts had yet to be formed.
“Multilateral talks? … This is all just wishful thinking, only wishful thinking,” Storchak said. “It is obvious that the question has to be solved, and it needs to be solved quickly, but at the moment there are no international groups of experts at a high-level. If there are any talks, then they are only at a … national level, there are no talks on an international level.” Ukraine’s economy is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, with several foreign debt repayments due this year and gas debts owed to its neighbor Russia, a precarious situation even before the upheaval in which President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted.
Ukraine’s hryvnia fell to record lows on Wednesday while the country’s dollar bonds dropped again on signs that the central bank is letting the currency weaken in view of its dwindling foreign reserves. The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday it would most probably send a technical support team to Ukraine soon to assist Kiev, and the European Union has said it will work with the IMF to ease Ukraine’s economic crisis.
Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, expressed hope on Tuesday that the new Ukrainian government being formed following Yanukovich’s removal from power on Saturday would quickly come up with a plan to tackle the crisis. (Reuters)