EU offers 1.8 billion euros for Ukraine in effort to avoid bankruptcy

The European Union proposed on Thursday offering an additional 1.8 billion euros ($2.1 billion) to help save Ukraine from bankruptcy as Kiev assured Germany it had credible plans to modernise. With an International Monetary Fund team resuming talks in Kiev, the European Commission offered the medium-term loans to add to the 1.4 billion euros it handed over last year, subject to approval by EU governments and EU lawmakers.
“Europe stands united behind Ukraine,” Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told a news conference in the Latvian capital Riga, where he announced the aid.
The EU’s offer came on the day German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Ukraine Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk in Berlin. The German leader said later she had heard a convincing case for reform.
Merkel said that EU sanctions against Russia tied to its intervention in eastern Ukraine could only be lifted if there was full implementation of the Minsk peace agreement signed between Kiev and pro-Russian rebels in September.
Speaking at a news conference in Berlin with Yatseniuk, Merkel said she did not expect separate sanctions tied to Crimea could be lifted as this would require a reversal of Russia’s annexation of the territory.
“I have little hope on that front,” Merkel said.
“The other sanctions were introduced in response to the intervention in eastern Ukraine. Fulfilling the entire Minsk agreement is the way to bring about a reversal (of sanctions) here. The entire Minsk agreement must be implemented before we can say these sanctions can be lifted.”
Speaking in Riga, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said she saw “some limited positive signs on the Russian side” over Ukraine, while Latvia’s foreign minister said talks with Russia last month showed “some signals” of a new approach.

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