BRUSSELS (AP) — The United States and the European Union have offered financial aid to Ukraine and Russia has halted its rescue program for the country. The moves are part of the international tussle over Ukraine's political and economic future, pitting Moscow against western capitals.
Ukraine is running out of cash and needs a bailout. Its currency is tumbling, unpaid gas bills are piling up and the political instability caused by Russia's intervention on its Crimean Peninsula further weighs on its already dim growth prospects. Ukraine estimates it needs $35 billion rescue loans over the next two years.
Here's a look at what the various offers consist of and how they compare:
The 28-nation EU — which includes four countries bordering Ukraine — said Wednesday it is ready to give Ukraine 11 billion euros ($15 billion) in loans and grants over the coming years.
The aid will include 1.6 billion euros in loans and 1.4 billion euros in grants from the EU budget and at least 8 billion euros in fresh credit from financial institutions including the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
The EU is also offering to fast-track Ukraine to a free trade and economic agreement. The deal would boost Ukraine's economic output and its industrial and agricultural exporters could save some 900 million euros annually through reduced tariffs, according to the EU Commission figures.
The EU plan also foresees technical assistance on issues like modernizing its energy industry, and aims to allow visa-free travel for Ukrainians.
Most of the financial aid will hinge on a new Ukrainian government committing to implementing tough economic reforms as part of a deal with the International Monetary Fund.
Russia offered Ukraine $15 billion in bailout loans in December, officially without strings attached. Russia also offered a substantial discount on natural gas supplies, which was a relief to Ukraine's state coffers since it spends billions to subsidize gas prices.
Analysts say Moscow's emergency loans came with the unstated condition that Ukraine cease pursuing closer ties with the EU like the free trade agreement and join a customs union of post-Soviet nations that Russian President Valdimir Putin seeks to promote.