IMF team to arrive in Ukraine on Tuesday to talk aid

The mission comes as efforts mount to put together a support deal for the new Ukraine government

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An International Monetary Fund team will arrive in Ukraine on Tuesday to discuss conditions for urgent aid, after leading G8 countries blasted Russia for sending troops into Crimea.

The IMF’s 10-day “fact-finding mission” will discuss the reforms that would need to be put in place to allow the fund to be able to offer Kiev financial support, the world lender announced on Monday.

The mission comes as efforts mount to put together a support deal for the new Ukraine government, even as the United States and European leaders express outrage at Moscow’s deployment of troops into the country’s Crimea peninsula.

Shallow pockets

New Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk last week said he inherited a government with less than $500,000 in cash at hand and foreign exchange reserves at a low $15 billion.

The government has said it needs “at least $15 billion” in outside aid to support itself and implement reforms this year.

But IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on Friday urged calm, saying there was now reason to panic over the state of the country’s finances.

Earlier Monday she told CNBC television that she wants to deal with Kiev’s problems “from a purely economic and financial point of view -- not from a geo-political point of view, which is another matter.”

A team of European experts was already in Kiev Monday to assess the situation, according to a European Commission spokesperson.


Support package

EC President Jose Barroso said Monday the Europeans were working with the IMF on a support package.

“There are some difficulties in that country to which we have to respond through emergency measures in the economic field,” he said.

The EC remains willing as well to offer political association with the European Union, including economic integration and a free trade deal, he said.

However, said a European source, “It is still the IMF that will assess the financial needs” of Ukraine.

No EU member will act on financial support for Kiev without the IMF assessment, the source said.

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