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EU sees lingering challenges to Ukrainian aid

March 3, 2014 at 9:32 AM

BERLIN, March 3 (UPI) -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Monday there are challenges in Ukraine standing in the way of full economic support.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said last week she planned to organize a fact-finding mission to Kiev at the request of the cash-strapped Ukrainian government.

Ukraine's new government said ousted President Viktor Yanukovych left the economy in ruin. Lagarde said the fact-finding mission, expected in Ukraine "in the coming days," would determine what reforms are needed to "form the basis of a [IMF]-supported program."

Yanukovych in November decided against signing free trade and association agreements with the European Union to protect economic ties to Russia.

Barroso said Monday from Berlin the EU was working with the IMF to find ways to support the new Ukrainian government.

"We keep our willingness to offer Ukraine the political association and economic integration through the association agreement, and also the free trade agreement," he said in a statement. "But there are some difficulties in that country to which we have to respond through emergency measures."

Russia deployed troops to Ukrainian territory at the request of Crimea Premier Sergei Aksenov. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement Sunday the decision "threatens peace and security in Europe."

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