WASHINGTON Feb 10 The Group of Seven rich
industrial nations and the International Monetary Fund are
weighing up a much larger aid package for Ukraine, acknowledging
that it is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, sources familiar
with the talks say.
One source told Reuters the overall package could be swelled
to around $40 billion, a sum that would include the existing aid
on offer, although discussions are ongoing and nothing has been
A second source confirmed talks were actively being held
although the idea had not yet been formally raised with the IMF
An IMF team is in Kiev for talks with Ukrainian authorities
about boosting financial support and said in January it would
support a bigger, longer-term funding plan than its current $17
billion programme, but did not give exact figures.
The second source said there was common agreement that $17
billion would not be enough to rescue Ukraine but there was risk
to weigh in the balance of giving large sums to a country
embroiled in internal conflict and with a track record of not
seeing through previous IMF programmes.
Ukraine's government has asked parliament to meet Feb. 23-27
to discuss budget changes vital for the successful completion of
existing talks with the IMF.
Germany chairs the G7 group this year. Chancellor Angela
Merkel has held talks in Washington with President Barack Obama
and in Ottawa this week.
The sources said the greater package could include
contributions from bondholders as well as bilateral and
multilateral input from governments and international
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is due to meet the
leaders of Russia, France and Germany on Wednesday for further
talks on defusing conflict in the east of his country.
The fighting has helped push Ukraine close to bankruptcy,
prompting Kiev to seek talks with sovereign bondholders as well
as an increase in foreign aid to plug an estimated $15 billion
(editing by Ralph Boulton)