Opposition leader says Ukraine is bankrupt, budget looted
Monday, February 24, 2014
KIEV, Ukraine - Arseny Yatsenyuk, head of the opposition Batkivschyna Party, announced Monday that the state budget of Ukraine had been emptied, bringing the political crisis-racked country to the verge of bankruptcy.
"The state budget has been plundered and the country has been reduced to bankruptcy, according to the latest information I received yesterday from the National Bank of Ukraine," he said during a Conciliatory Council meeting held in the Verkhovna Rada - Ukraine’s parliament.
"Ukraine has never faced such a terrible financial catastrophe in all of its years of independence," he said, warning that the country must immediately apply to the International Monetary Fund for financial assistance.
He said he was given a "frightening" picture of the country’s financial situation after meeting with the interim finance minister.
Yatsenyuk noted that Ukraine was 10 days late in paying its public officials as the treasury has run out of cash.
"We have no time. We must urgently form a government," noted Yatsenyuk. "Everything depends on how quickly we form a government that will be trusted by the people," he said.
Yatsenyuk said he also discussed the issues with the head of the US Treasury.
Anti-government protests that broke out in November 2013 after recently impeached President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a trade pact with the EU amid pressure from Moscow.
Russia later announced a US$15 billion bailout for Ukraine's battered economy, but shelved the second part of the planned purchase of Kiev's euro bonds until a new government is formed and Ukraine's economic policy is set.
The EU said Monday that it is ready to provide a €20 billion financial aid package to Kiev after a new cabinet is formed.
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