U.S. to offer Ukraine advice on ways to cut Russian gas reliance

Mar 05, 2014 12:00 AM

The U.S. Treasury Department is preparing an assistance package for Ukraine that will include a $1 billion loan guarantee and advice on how the nation can reduce its dependence on natural gas from Russia.

“The United States Treasury is ready to dispatch highly experienced technical advisers to help the Ukrainian financial authorities manage immediate market pressures,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in a statement released in Washington. “We have been working closely with international partners to develop an assistance package that will help the Ukrainian government implement the reforms needed to restore financial stability and return to economic growth.”

The Obama administration is working with Congress to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees that would help cushion the effects of reduced energy subsidies on Ukrainian citizens, according to a White House statement. It’s also “moving quickly” to deploy more financial and technical assistance to help Ukraine withstand “politically motivated trade actions by Russia,” Lew said.

The Treasury’s steps are part of the Obama administration’s effort to bolster the fledging Ukrainian government and curtail Russian influence in the region. In the worst standoff between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. is preparing sanctions to punish Russia for its military action in Crimea.

The International Monetary Fund will be the center of the international assistance package for Ukraine, Lew said in his statement. The Treasury is working with Congress to pass legislation known as the 2010 IMF quota reform that would boost the amount of money the fund can lend to Ukraine.

“At the same time, the United States is moving quickly to provide technical expertise to help the National Bank of Ukraine and the Ministry of Finance address their most pressing challenges,” the administration said in its statement. “The United States will also provide expertise to help Ukraine implement critical energy sector reforms.”

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