Ukraine: New Government Deadline Looms
Ukraine MPs must meet a deadline to form a new national unity government later today as the country attempts to stave off default.Acting leaders in Kiev have said they need $35bn (£21bn) to avoid defaulting, with the US standing ready to provide financial support to boost an International Monetary Fund aid programme.
An existing $15bn (£9bn) bailout from Russia is still on the table, but Moscow signalled a deal that cuts the price Kiev pays for Russian gas had an expiry date and would have to be renegotiated.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague will meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry later on Tuesday to discuss emergency support for Ukraine.
Mr Hague has warned the country faces imminent economic collapse without support from the international community.
He told MPs on Monday: “Ukraine’s financial situation is very serious and without outside assistance may not be sustainable.
“An economic crisis in Ukraine would be a grave threat to the country’s stability and have damaging wider consequences.”
Senior US officials are scheduled to meet with political, business and civil society leaders during a series of meetings in Kiev over the next few days.
But Russia has insisted it will not deal with the country’s interim leaders, calling them “armed mutineers” who stole power from President Viktor Yanukovych.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev questioned their authority and described the situation in the country as “a real threat to our interests and to the lives of our citizens”.
He said: “There are big doubts about the legitimacy of a whole series of organs of power that are now functioning here.
“It seems to me it is an aberration to call legitimate what is essentially the result of an armed mutiny. Strictly speaking, there is no one for us to communicate with there today.”
EU foreign policy chief Catheron Ashton is also expected to speak about the unfolding situation in Ukraine.
Parliament is running the country until elections are held, with the top positions being held by former opposition figures.
On Sunday, MPs set a deadline for today to appoint a new national unity government.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Mr Yanukovych for the “mass murder” of protesters during violent clashes in Kiev last week. His whereabouts remain unknown.
Ukrainian acting interior minister Arsen Avakov said the deposed leader had left a private residence in Balaclava, in the Russian-speaking Crimea region, for an unknown destination with one of his aides.
Mr Yanukovych was deposed by parliament on Saturday after months of bloody unrest – with 82 people killed in clashes between protesters and riot police.
He has been refused permission to fly out of Ukraine and has said he will not resign.