Updated at 20:51,24-11-2020

Ukraine’s treasury empty: rescue package. Oligarchs to shell out?


Ukraine goes bankrupt, its treasury is empty, head of Batkivshchina (Fatherland) faction Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a meeting of parliamentary factions’ leaders on Monday. 'Ukraine has never faced such a financial catastrophe for all years of its independence,' he said, adding that Ukraine should immediately apply to the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance.

Catherine Ashton, the first senior foreign official to visit Kiev since Viktor Yanukovych was ousted as president, underlined the importance of Ukraine's territorial integrity in a signal to former Soviet master Moscow not to intervene unilaterally.

'So we are here to say we want to support and help the country to stay strong and to go forward in the way it chooses to,' reuters.com quotes Catherine Ashton.

Ashton expressed hope that the new government being formed following Yanukovych's removal from power would quickly come up with a plan to tackle the economic crisis. She spelled out no details of any foreign financial assistance, but made clear the EU would work with the International Monetary Fund even though the IMF would make its own assessment of the situation. She said a combination of short-term help and the role of long-term investment were needed.

Earlier Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, said that the IMF was ready to render financial assistance to Ukraine.

At the same time, it is widely believed that it is the Ukrainian ex-top officials and Yanukovych’s bagmen who should assume the financial burden.

The Europeans and especially the UK might be more inclined to undertake such a collective effort if the top 10 Ukrainian oligarchs ­– principal beneficiaries of the country’s stunningly widespread corruption – were all 'persuaded' to donate $1bn each to their country’s financial rehabilitation, Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote for the Financial Times.

'Mr Yanukovych’s fabulously wealthy dentist son should be able to match the resulting $10bn. The Ukrainian public would certainly welcome such a collective contribution,' the well-known political scientist says.
Radosław Sikorski, the Polish Foreign Minister, has recently offered to freeze foreign accounts of the people close to the ex-president of Ukraine.