Feb. 28 - Panicking about financial aid to Ukraine or blindly guessing how much aid will be needed is unnecessary, warns IMF Chief Christine Lagarde, while Germany's foreign minister urges all partners, including Russia, to prepare to help. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde says getting aid to Ukraine is on the agenda, but there's no need to "panic", or throw out wild numbers. SOUNDBITE: INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We are sending to Kiev, early next week, a team. The mission of the team will be focused on finding facts on beginning a dialogue with the authorities, on accessing the economic and financial situation of Ukraine and on discussing the current policies, as well as expected policies in order to begin building the grounds of support programs for Ukraine." Ukraine's interim government says the country needs at least $35 billion over two years in order to avoid slipping into bankruptcy, but Lagarde says the amount of assistance has yet to be determined. SOUNDBITE: INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND MANAGING DIRECTOR CHRISTINE LAGARDE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think it's highly premature to assess financial needs. Numbers here. Numbers there. We need to rely on facts. We need to rely on the situation as it is. We do not see anything that is critical, that is worthy of panic at the moment, and we would certainly hope that authorities refrain from throwing lots of numbers which are really meaningless until they've been assessed properly." Whatever that figure turns out to be, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged the global community to step up and aid Ukraine - and that includes Russia. SOUNDBITE: GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER (GERMAN WITH ENGLISH TRANSLATION) SAYING: "The IMF has the same impression we have, that Ukraine's stabilization can only be achieved if we get as many partners as possible at the table. This means that the IMF is looking for combined cooperation possibilities with the United States and with the European Union but not only with those two but also with Russia. The analysis is similar to the one we have in Germany, that the trade and economic relations between Ukraine and Russia are so tight that Russia should have an interest to economically stabilize Ukraine. At the same time, we also must have an interest that Russia sticks to the financial promises it made to Ukraine so far." Whether Russia will play a peaceful role in the future of Ukraine is still unclear.