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IMF responds to Ukraine bid for financial aid

IMF to send mission to Kiev in coming days, shortly after new Ukraine PM accuses ousted government of corruption.

Last updated: 27 Feb 2014 15:43
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The IMF team being sent to Kiev will have preliminary talks with authorities there, said Lagarde [Reuters]

The International Monetary Fund is to send a fact-finding team to Ukraine in response to a request for financial support, said the IMF's managing director, Christine Lagarde.

The statement on Thursday came after the new Ukraine prime minister, Andrey Yatsenyuk, said Ukraine there was only $500,000 in state coffers, and $37bn of loans had been "robbed" by the government of the ousted president, Viktor Yanukovich.

Lagarde said that the IMF and its international partners were discussing how to help Ukraine, and that the Kiev visit would be preliminary talks.

"This will enable the IMF to make its usual technical, independent assessment of the economic situation in Ukraine and, at the same time, begin to discuss with the authorities the policy reforms that could form the basis of a Fund-supported program," Lagarde said in a statement.

Ukraine's new finance minister, Oleksander Slapak, announced his request to the IMF, stating that the country needed at least $15bn in support.

Yatsenyuk later said that the treasury had only 4.3m hrivnas, which is less than $500,000. 

He accused the government of Yanukovich of stripping the state bare and said $37bn of credit received by the country had disappeared. 

"The sum of $70bn was paid out of Ukraine's financial system into off-shore accounts" in the last three years, he said.

"I want to report to you - the state treasury has been robbed and is empty," he said. "$37bn of credit received has disappeared in an unknown direction," he added.  

The situation was so grave that there was no other alternative but to take "extraordinarily unpopular measures", he said, speaking at parliament. 

Al Jazeera's Hoda Hamid, reporting from Kiev, said that the money left would pay civil servant salaries this month and nothing more. After that, the country would be bankrupt.

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