Ukraine needs more than 40 billion dollars in aid, Poroshenko says
KievMar 11, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
Mar 11, 2015 12:00 am
Ukraine needs more than 40 billion dollars in financial aid to keep its economy afloat, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Wednesday.
"The whole package that is being prepared to help Ukraine…today must exceed 40 billion dollars," President Poroshenko said after a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in Kiev, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.
He added that the money will be enough if Ukraine works on achieving reforms to attract foreign investment and fight corruption. "I am convinced that this will be done fast and effectively," he said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said last month that Ukraine should get international aid worth 40 billion dollars over the coming four years. However, only some 25 billion dollars have been secured.
The IMF is expected to make a decision about a 17.5 billion dollar loan for Kiev later on Wednesday.
The IMF loan is spread over four years, but the Ukraine Finance Ministry said that it hopes to get 10-11 billion dollars from it already this year.
"We expect that the package will be heavy front-loaded," the ministry said in comments emailed to DPA news agency.
The ministry added that if approved, the IMF package will unlock an additional 7.5 billion dollars from international partners like the European Union, the US and the World Bank.
It is unclear, where the remaining 15 billion dollars will come from. Last year, Ukraine received eight billion dollars in international aid.
Donors demand that Ukraine reforms its inefficient economy, especially the state sector, thought to be riddled by corruption. The Finance Ministry stressed that all conditions required for the IMF package's approval have been met, and that the government will continue working on its reform agenda.
IMF Director Christine Lagarde held talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later on Wednesday.
Ukraine's weak economy has been ravaged by one year of fighting between government troops and Russia-backed separatists in the country's east. The Ukrainian military on Wednesday accused the separatists of violating last month's ceasefire agreement by building up forces and relocating heavy weapons instead of withdrawing them.
The separatists' build-up is concentrated outside the port city of Mariupol, Security Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in Kiev. He added that one soldier was killed and five were injured in clashes over the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, NATO demanded that both parties hand over information about the withdrawal to the international observers monitoring the ceasefire. "The monitoring of the ceasefire is in no way sufficient today," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the alliance's military headquarters in the Belgian town of Mons. Stoltenberg warned that the weapons might be repositioned for new combat if there is no proper verification of the withdrawal.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors the ceasefire, has said that it has not received requested detailed information about the withdrawn heavy weapons. The organization complained in recent reports that both parties hindered its observer teams from accessing weapons' sites.
As heavy clashes continue unabated in eastern Ukraine, more than 6,000 people have been reportedly killed and at least 12,235 injured, according to U.N. figures. The shaky Feb. 12 cease-fire agreement is generally holding firm in violence-stricken eastern Ukraine. However, breaches of the renewed Minsk Accord have been widely reported, demonstrating that the months-long crisis in Ukraine's east has yet to be resolved, despite a series of mediating talks and peace efforts.