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Pro-Russian rally in Crimea decries Kiev ‘bandits’


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The European Union’s top foreign policy official, Catherine Ashton, urged Ukraine’s new government to quickly work out an economic reform program so the West could consider financial aid to keep Ukraine from bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the Institute of International Finance, a Washington-based association of banks and financial companies, warned that Ukraine’s finances "are on the verge of collapse." Ukraine is battling to keep its currency, the hryvnia, from collapsing. Its acting finance minister says the country needs $35 billion (25.5 billion euros) to finance government needs this year and next.

After meeting with interim authorities in Kiev, Ashton urged the new government not to exclude members of Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

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"It needs to be inclusive," she told reporters.

Protests in Ukraine erupted after Yanukovych in November abruptly reject an agreement to strengthen ties with the European Union and instead sought a bailout loan from Moscow. But they grew into a massive movement demanding an end to corruption and greater human rights.

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Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.




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