WASHINGTON Feb 3 The United States and the
European Union are in preliminary discussions on possible
financial assistance for Ukraine once a new government is
formed, a State Department spokeswoman said on Monday.
"This is a very preliminary stage. We are consulting with
the EU ... and other partners about support Ukraine may need
after a new technical government is formed," spokeswoman Jen
Psaki told a daily briefing.
U.S. officials have emphasized that Ukraine will need an
IMF-backed economic program to put its economy on a more stable
footing. Psaki said any final decision on US financial support
for Ukraine "will be guided by events in Ukraine and
consultations with the new government after it is formed."
Ukraine's economy has been hard hit by more than two months
of unrest, which followed a decision by President Viktor
Yanukovich in November not to pursue trade and other deals with
the EU, which would have brought Kiev closer to Western Europe.
Yanukovich is caught in a tug of war between Russia and the
West. Russia committed a $15 billion bailout for Ukraine after
Kiev scrapped plans for EU deals.
U.S. confirmation of initial talks with the EU on a
financial package follows comments at the weekend by EU foreign
policy chief Catherine Ashton who told the Wall Street Journal
that the financial help "won't be small".
She said the package, which she referred to as "a Ukrainian
Plan" would not only consist of money but also contain
"guarantees" or help on luring new investment.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Ukrainian opposition
leaders on Saturday on the sidelines of a security conference in
"Obviously there are several steps that need to be taken
between now and then. Those steps will be a factor" in
determining the decision on financial support, Psaki added.
As the largest member of the IMF, the United States will
have sway over how much funding and conditions are put into any
IMF-supported program for Ukraine.