G7 condemns Russia's 'violation,' promises robust aid for Ukraine
NEW YORK - Agence France-PresseThe finance ministers of the world's top industrialized countries promised a firm aid package to Ukraine on March 2, while calling for reform and a central role by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Earlier, leaders of the countries symbolically billed themselves as the "G7," saying Russia's actions were incompatible with the Group of Eight Nations, which Moscow joined in 1997, and withdrew from preparations for June's G8 summit in Sochi.
"We are united in our commitment to provide strong financial backing to Ukraine," the finance ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States said in a statement released by the U.S. Treasury.
They welcomed the planned visit of an IMF team to Ukraine this week to begin technical and policy discussions.
"The International Monetary Fund remains the institution best prepared to help Ukraine address its immediate economic challenges through policy advice and financing, conditioned on needed reforms," the finance ministers said.
"IMF support will be critical in unlocking additional assistance from the World Bank, other international financial institutions, the EU, and bilateral sources."
Interim Ukrainian authorities who succeeded ousted president Viktor Yanukovych had launched a call for IMF help and the world financial body immediately said it stood ready to respond.
IMF programs, however, are usually conditioned on reforms taking place. "Closely monitoring" the situation, the G7 ministers said the governmental transition "offers a unique opportunity to put in place urgently needed market-oriented reforms that will restore financial stability, unleash economic potential and allow Ukraine's people to better achieve their economic aspirations."
"We are also committed to mobilize rapid technical assistance to support Ukraine in addressing its macroeconomic, regulatory, and anti-corruption challenges," they added.
In their separate statement, the G7 leaders said Russia's "clear" violation of Ukraine's sovereignty by sending troops into Crimea contravened the principles on which the G7 and G8 groupings operates.