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Russian aid to Ukraine to depend on dialogue with new Ukrainian government

February 25, 2014, 2:54 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
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WASHINGTON, February 24. /ITAR-TASS/. The parameters of Russian aid to Ukraine will be determined in dialogue with a new Ukrainian government, Russian Minister of Economic Development Alexei Ulyukayev said at the American Chamber of Commerce where he spoke on Monday, February 24, during his visit to the United States.

“The programme of assistance, and not only assistance but creation of the best conditions for mutual development of the economies, was coordinated with one government, with one president [in Ukraine] and included not only 15 billion [U.S. dollar] support for the budget but also serious investment projects for the development of transport and energy infrastructure to a total amount of almost six billion [U.S. dollars],” he said.

“Now we would like to understand who are partners are, what kind of government there will be, who will be in this government, what kind of programme it will have and what its goals will be so that we could correct this [our] programme. We have too little information at this point,” the minister said.

He recalled that one portion of Russian aid in the amount of three billion U.S. dollars had already been paid. The money “was transferred to the budget of Ukraine, and we hope it served the purpose of budget stabilisation,” Ulyukayev said.

A second portion of two billion U.S. dollars “was prepared but could not be transferred because of the serious changes [in Ukraine],” he added.

When asked whether the International Monetary Fund could provide aid to Ukraine, Ulyukayev said the Fund “always gives money for a concrete, and I would say, austere programme of reforms,” including structural reforms. And this programme “must be worked off.” “If it is implemented, we will only welcome that,” he added.

In December 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich agreed that Moscow would give Kiev a loan by buying Ukrainian Euro bonds worth 15 billion U.S. dollars. The first portion of three billion U.S. dollars was transferred to Kiev several days after that. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Moscow would make the decision on the disbursement of the next portion of two billion U.S. dollars after Ukraine had formed a new government.

Ulyukayev confirmed earlier this month that Russia would honour its obligations, but their schedule and parameters were to be discussed further.

“Decisions worth three billion U.S. dollars have already been implemented, and assets from the National Welfare Fund have been invested in securities,” he said. “If we speak about amounts above that sum, the government [of Russia] will maintain close contact with Ukrainian colleagues now that the government of Ukraine is to be ‘reformatted’,” the minister said, adding that Russia “should have a clearer understanding of the parameters of this government’s work.”

Putin instructed the government to fulfill all financial and energy agreements with Ukraine. “I want to draw the attention of the government to what worries our Ukrainian colleagues and friends, namely to the need to fulfill all our financial agreements I mean our agreements on loans - and energy agreements,” Putin said.

“I would like to ask the government to implement our agreements in full,” he added.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reaffirmed in late January that Russia would fulfill all of its financial and energy obligations to Ukraine but after the latter had formed a new government.

Russia understands the need to implement all agreements with Ukraine, the prime minister said. “But we should do it sensibly, and we can do it sensibly only if we understand what kind of economic policy a new government will pursue, who will work there and what rules they will stick to,” Medvedev said.

To prove his point, the premier referred to his personal agreements on gas payments with former Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov. “We agreed on how the gas debts would be paid and how current payments would be made. As a result of support provided to the Ukrainian economy, as a result of invigorated cooperation between Russia and Ukraine, and as a result of increased trade and economic turnover, our Ukrainian colleagues received certain advantages that have yet to be converted into economic achievements,” he said.

The prime minister reiterated again on February 24 that legally binding agreements between Russia and Ukraine would be implemented.

“The agreements that are legally binding will be implemented,” the prime minister said, adding that Russia was not cooperating with individuals but working within the framework of interstate cooperation. “Everything that has been signed must be implemented,” Medvedev said.

He said Russia would resume cooperation with Ukraine when it formed a new government in accordance with the constitution. “If a normal modern government appears there, a government which is based on laws and the constitution, we will be prepared to resume cooperation,” he said.

At the same time, he noted that Ukraine remained an important partner for Russia. “We are prepared to discuss any issue, but it is important to understand with whom we can discuss them. If the masked people are a government, then it will be hard for us to work with such a government,” the prime minister said.

Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Alexander Turchinov said that the Ukrainian authorities were aware of the ‘importance of ties with the Russian Federation and ready for dialogue with the leadership of Russia.” He said the persons who had taken power in Ukraine wanted to build relations with Russia “on a new, truly equal and good-neighbourly basis, which recognises and takes into account Ukraine’s European choice.

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