BRUSSELS. February 10 (RIA Novosti) – The European Union is discussing possible economic assistance to Ukraine, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said Monday.
Catherine Ashton said ahead of a meeting with European foreign ministers that the union is in contact with other countries and organizations on the issue.
She reiterated that reforms remain an important precondition for aid.
“We stand ready to support the process of dialogue which is so important to try and end the crisis there [in Ukraine]. We stand ready too, within the reforms that need to be made, with our economic support, and we are in touch with many other countries and institutions on this issue,” she said.
In its final statement on Ukraine, the EU Foreign Affairs Council stopped short of threatening Kiev with sanctions, but urged the government and opposition to show restraint and avoid violence.
The council called on the authorities to protect the Ukrainians’ right to protest and investigate all reports of violence.
The Wall Street Journal reported last week, citing officials in Brussels and Washington, that the EU and United States were discussing a short-term financial aid plan for Ukraine in a move to counter pressure from Moscow.
In a move that sparked national protests, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych made a last-minute decision in November to back off from signing landmark deals with the EU and instead signed a $15 billion aid deal with Russia.
After Ukraine’s cabinet of ministers resigned in late January, Russia said it would suspend its next installment of aid, giving the West an opportunity to again bid for influence in Ukraine.