• Ashton in Kiev: Russian TV says the EU and US are orchestrating 'regime change' by 'fascists' (Photo: eeas.europa.eu)

Post-Yanukovych Ukraine seeks financial aid from EU and US

25.02.14 @ 09:47

  1. By Andrew Rettman
  2. Andrew email

BRUSSELS - The EU and US are preparing financial aid to help prevent state bankruptcy in Ukraine, amid belligerent rhetoric by Russia.

The US embassy in Kiev has said deputy secretary of state William Burns will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday (25 February) with US treasury officials to “work in concert with partners such as the EU and the IMF [International Monetary Fund] to discuss needed financial support.”

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton alreadt met with Ukraine’s acting finance minister Yuriy Kolobov in Kiev on Monday.

He said in a statement after the talks he is seeking an immediate “loan” from the US and Poland, and to hold an “international donor conference” with the US and EU countries later down the line to raise €25 billion in macro-financial assistance for 2014 and 2015.

The idea was endorsed by the Greek EU presidency, whose finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, said: "It's our historical and moral duty to elaborate and to present together with the US, Russia, and the competent international organisations a consolidated, integrated project … [to] avoid the disorder, the default and deconstruction of Ukraine on a financial and economic level.”

Ashton also met Ukraine’s acting president, Oleksandr Turchunov, its recently freed former PM, Yulia Tymoshenko, and with members of former president Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

EU leaders have, since Yanukovych fled his palace on Saturday, called on Russia to help maintain the country’s “territorial integrity” and urged the post-revolutionary leaders to form an “inclusive” interim government.

But Russia’s rhetoric and actions point toward more worrying scenarios.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on TV on Monday: "If you consider Kalashnikov-toting people in black masks who are roaming Kiev to be the government, then it will be hard for us to work with that government.”

He added: "Some of our foreign, Western partners think otherwise, considering them to be legitimate authorities. I do not know which constitution, which laws they were reading, but it seems to me it is an aberration."

Russian propaganda channels, such as Russia Today, have also accused the EU and US of orchestrating “regime change” by “fascists” in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Russian parliament has tabled a bill to speed up distribution of Russian passports to ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

Russian media also reports that Moscow is sending four warships carrying special forces to its nearby naval base in Anapa in case they are needed to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine.

Inside Ukraine, the new authorities on Monday published papers showing that Yanukovych had planned a deadly crackdown on protesters before he fled.

It is not clear who stopped him from giving the order - to surround the Maidan [the protest camp in Kiev] with hundreds of snipers from special police units and from a counter-terrorist squad in the domestic intelligence service, the SBU, and to open fire.

But Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski said on Twitter: “The documents confirm that there was a deadly threat against the Maidan, killing on a mass scale.”

Yanukovych and some 50 of his former officials are currently wanted men in Ukraine after the new prosecutor general issued warrants for their arrest, but their whereabouts remain unknown despite a swirl of rumor.

For her part, Tymoshenko has said she plans to go to Germany for medical treatment.

She added in a statement that people have asked her to become the interim Prime Minister until new elections in May, but that she declined.