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Is Ukraine rescue deal possible?

Friday, February 28, 2014 - 02:06

Feb. 28 - Ukraine's new prime minister says securing a loan with the IMF is vital for currency stability - and the IMF confirms it will send a fact-finding team there next week. But with tension continuing to flare in Crimea - and revelations that 37 billion dollars went missing from state coffers under ousted President Yanukovich - will it be possible for Western lenders to mount an effective rescue deal? Ivor Bennett reports.

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A blast from the past - it seems the fight for Ukraine isn't over yet. Ousted president Viktor Yanukovich reappearing in Russia after a week on the run. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) OUSTED UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VIKTOR YANUKOVICH, SAYING: "I intend to continue to fight for the future of Ukraine against those who are trying to seize it with the help of fear and terror." But the rallying cry may be too little too late - listeners in Kiev mocking their former leader. Ukraine's new leadership accuse Yanukovich of robbing the state treasury of 70 billion dollars, leaving the country on the brink of economic collapse. With a currency in freefall, and growing concerns over foreign currency reserves, Prime Minster Arseny Yatseniuk is calling for help. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER, ARSENY YATSENIUK, SAYING: "For us the common task is immediate reconciliation of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and receiving money from international financial organisations." Ukraine says it needs 35 billion dollars to stave off bankruptcy, with the IMF due in Kiev next week. The talk of a bailout has helped tame the currency's slide. The hryvnia bouncing back from recent record lows by 5 percent to 10.5 against the dollar. Limits on foreign currency withdrawals have also been put in place. IHS analyst Lilit Gevorgyan. SOUNDBITE (English) LILIT GEVORGYAN, SENIOR ECONOMIST RUSSIA/CIS, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT, SAYING: "Anything that will subside the tensions that will have a mitigating impact, will obviously be welcomed. Whether it comes from IMF or Russia. I think it's really important that Russia's onboard with Ukraine's bailout. That would definitely send a very positive message to investors and to markets." But Russian support is by no means guaranteed and what happens next may depend on the identity of these men. Armed groups in control of two airports in Crimea - an area dominated by ethnic Russians. Ukraine has called it an invasion, a claim Russia denies. With the region on a knife-edge, Ukraine's future is still in the balance.

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Is Ukraine rescue deal possible?

Friday, February 28, 2014 - 02:06