By Luke Baker and Jan Strupczewski
BRUSSELS Feb 28 A small team of financial
experts from the European Commission will travel to Ukraine on
Monday to assess exactly how much financial assistance it needs,
EU officials said on Friday.
The team from the Commission's directorate-general for
economic and financial affairs is expected to meet Ukrainian
finance ministry and central bank officials to determine what
the country's budget shortfall and capital needs are.
"The first thing we need to do is to understand precisely
how much they need," said a senior official briefed on the
visit. "There are a lot of numbers being thrown around and it
isn't helping to clarify the situation."
Ukraine has said it needs $35 billion over the next two
years. But its shorter-term requirements are much less and are
estimated to be around $4 billion, according to some EU
The International Monetary Fund is also sending a team of
inspectors to Ukraine to assess its longer-term needs.
"The financial situation of Ukraine is less dramatic than it
seems. There is no immediate threat of default," a second senior
EU official said.
"They will need around 1 billion (euros) or so in the
summer," the official said, referring to bond redemption.
Officials said that once Kiev had reached a deal with the
IMF, the EU could disburse an earlier promised amount of 610
million euros ($842.51 million) in aid. Together with the IMF
loans, that would cover Ukraine's needs.
EU officials said the 28-nation bloc could come up with
another 1 billion euros in the next few months to cover any
immediate needs if necessary, but a third official said that
would require complex procedures involving the European
Parliament, which will dissolve in mid-April.
For EU loans higher than the total of 1.61 billion euros, a
more detailed assessment of Kiev's needs would be needed and a
proper assistance programme signed, the second official said.
EU officials said some EU capitals might extend bilateral
loans to Kiev, but that it was too early to name countries or
The United States on Monday offered financial assistance to
Ukraine to complement an IMF loan programme.