KIEV, Ukraine, March 5 (UPI) -- The European Union has offered Ukraine a $15 billion aid package to stabilize its economy and currency, which have been teetering since the crisis began.
The bailout will help the country deal with its escalating debt, reduce reliance on foreign reserves, and also help prepare for a possible confrontation with Russia. The package will include $2.2 billion in loans and $1.9 billion in grants from the E.U. budget and up to $11 billion in fresh credit from the EU's financial institutions.
"The most immediate priority for the EU is to contribute to a peaceful solution to the current crisis, in full respect of international law," said Commission President José Manuel Barroso. "In parallel, the international community should mobilise to help Ukraine stabilise its economic and financial situation. The European Commission is proposing today a package designed to assist a committed, inclusive and reforms oriented Government in rebuilding a stable and prosperous future for Ukraine."
The package is substantially bigger than the $1 billion offered by Secretary of State John Kerry during his visit to Kiev Tuesday. The Ukrainian government has said that they will need $35 billion in international assistance over the next few years.
The package from the E.U. could possibly help Ukraine deal with some of the harsh demands that will likely come with an International Monetary Fund deal. The IMF, which is currently conducting a on-ground review of the situation, has made it clear that any financial package will include strict measures, such as steep government spending cuts and reductions in gas subsidies.