Ukraine’s acting prime minister said on Wednesday he expected the disbursement of the second tranche of $2-billion from a Russian $15-billion aid package “very soon”.
Ukraine has been gripped by a wave of political and social unrest since President Viktor Yanukovych walked away from a trade deal with Europe in November last year.
“We have already received the first tranche of $3 billion and expect to receive the second tranche of $2-billion very soon,” said Serhiy Arbuzov, chairing his first cabinet meeting as acting prime minister.
Arbuzov, who stepped in as interim premier on Tuesday after the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, also said the Ukrainian central bank was ensuring stability on the financial markets. “The central bank is reliably controlling the situation on the financial market,” he said.
Arbuzov made no mention of any changes to his predecessor’s policy of keeping the hryvnia pegged close to the dollar and maintaining subsidies for domestic gas - both criticized by the International Monetary Fund.
Referring to concessions made on Tuesday by Yanukovych and his loyalists in parliament, Arbuzov said: “During this search for a compromise and solution in society, the most important thing is to minimize the negative impact of this situation on economic processes.”
“We must shun aggression ... the only path is dialogue,” he said referring to talks between opposition leaders and the Yanukovych leadership.
On Tuesday, a series of sweeping anti-protest laws, brought in hastily in response to increasingly violent clashes between far-right protest elements and the police, were repealed by parliament.
A debate on amnesty for all imprisoned protesters and proposed reforms to the Ukrainian constitution is expected in parliament later on Wednesday.