Ukraine calls for aid, hopes Russia will not change gas price

The Finance Ministry said it had called for a donor's conference and needed the first aid in the next week or two. Ukraine also hopes the price it pays for Russian gas will not change

Ukraine calls for aid, hopes Russia will not change gas price

World Bulletin/News Desk

Ukraine said on Monday 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 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 stabilize 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 U.S. dollar in early trading on Monday.

Russian gas price

Meanwhile, Ukraine hopes the price it pays for Russian gas will not change, Acting Energy Minister Eduard Stavytsky said on Monday, following the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovich as president.

"We hope that the price (of Russian gas) will be stable," Stavytsky told Reuters by telephone.

Russia agreed in December to reduce the gas price for Kiev to $268.50 per 1,000 cubic metres, a cut of about one third from around $400 which Ukraine had paid since 2009. The reduction was part of a wider financial deal Moscow signed with Kiev after Ukraine spurned an EU trade deal.

Two Gazprom sources told Reuters the company had no immediate plans of returning to the previous gas price for Kiev, which is seeking around $35 billion in foreign assistance over the next two years.

"But this is not Gazprom to decide," one of the sources said.

A Gazprom official declined to comment on the issue of price but said gas transit to Europe, which is getting around a quarter of its gas needs from Russia, is being pumped "in full volumes".

The last dispute over gas pricing between Russia and Ukraine caused shortages in Europe over the winter of 2009.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has so far been silent on events in Ukraine, keeping the question of the gas price - and the wider deal to offer $15 billion in Russian aid to Ukraine - open.

Ukraine consumes about 55 billion cubic meters of gas each year, and more than half of this amount is imported from Russia. Gazprom exported 161.5 billion cubic metres of gas to Europe last year.

 

Last Mod: 24 Şubat 2014, 12:17
Add Comment