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US financier says Ukraine needs $15 billion in Western aid to survive

Additional financial assistance will be needed to encourage private investment in Ukraine, US billionaire financier George Soros said
US billionaire financier George Soros  EPA/JULIEN WARNAND
US billionaire financier George Soros

NEW YORK, January 28. /TASS/. US billionaire financier George Soros has urged the West to provide at least $15 billion to Ukraine to help the conflict-hit country to survive.

A New York Times article, written by Soros and French public intellectual Bernard Henri-Levi, says that Ukraine urgently needs the financial assistance and the Western powers have to "make a political commitment to provide additional sums."

"The immediate need is for $15 billion," the article reads. The amount of the financial assistance will depend on whether the reforms in Ukraine will be successful and on how the situation in the country’s east will develop.

Additional financial assistance will be needed to encourage private investment in Ukraine, it says.

In early January, Soros told the Financial Times that the stabilization of Ukraine’s economy will urgently demand some $50 billion. "Assisting Ukraine should also be considered as a defense expenditure by the European Union countries," Soros wrote.

US Internet portal WorldNetDaily earlier reported that the Hungarian-born American business magnate has already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in various projects in Ukraine and also allocated funds to a number of non-governmental organizations.

Soros has reportedly paid several visits to Kiev recently, and the purpose of these trips is secret.

Ukraine has turned into a cash-consuming project for the West. According to Ukraine’s government data, in 2014 the country received some $9 billion in foreign financial aid. This year, no new private investors are expected in Ukraine. Kiev reckons on the support of international financial organizations.

As part of the March aid program of the European Union, Ukraine is due to receive €11 billion up to 2020. The EU has already allocated two tranches worth €500 million and €850 million.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has earmarked $1.39 billion to Kiev. In addition, the EU has allocated €3.3 million for providing assistance to the population.

The major aid package is sent as part of target projects for Ukraine from the European Investment Bank (up to €3 billion) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (around €5 billion).

Ukraine’s foreign debt has already hit $73 billion, and another $14 billion has been spent on servicing it. By early January, the country’s gold and foreign currency reserves fell below $10 billion. In Ukraine, home to 42 million people, some 2 million citizens are currently unemployed.