EU offers $15 billion in aid to Ukraine

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LONDON (CNNMoney)

The European Union announced Wednesday it will offer Ukraine an aid package worth at least $15 billion (€11 billion) as the country struggles with dwindling cash and a military standoff with Russia.

Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, said the aid package would provide Ukraine with assistance over the next few years. The aim is to help the country stabilize its economy and finances and work toward political and economic reforms.

Experts have been predicting Ukraine could default this month on its billions of dollars in debts. The country owes roughly $13 billion in debt this year.

Many of the country’s debts are denominated in U.S. dollars, which were becoming increasingly difficult to pay back as the value of the country’s currency fell sharply this year.

The International Monetary Fund is also conducting a review of the country this week to see if it will provide further financial assistance.

Ukrainian leaders said last month the country needed $35 billion in aid.

Related: 5 reasons Ukraine matters to the world economy

International authorities have long been calling for Ukraine to reform its economy, with the IMF noting that past reforms were not fully implemented.

The country offers large subsidies to residents on natural gas, a populist move that has wreaked havoc on national finances.

Ukraine’s central bank also spent money bolstering the currency — the hryvnia — which pushed down its foreign reserves to worrying levels.

Related: Why Europe will balk at Russian sanctions

The U.S. government has also stepped in to help, offering $1 billion in loan guarantees.

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Categories: Europe and Australia, Ukraine

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