WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said it was not discussing a new loan program with Ukraine, which late last year agreed to take a $15-billion (9 billion pounds) package of loans and cheaper gas from Russia.
"The Ukrainian authorities have not expressed an interest in resuming discussions on these matters with the fund lately," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters. He said the fund was ready to help Ukraine restore macroeconomic stability if asked.
Ukraine's currency fell to a five-year low on Wednesday as the ex-Soviet country continued to be gripped by a political and economic crisis. Demonstrators in the capital Kiev are protesting the government's rejection of a trade deal with the European Union and its decision to accept Russian financial aid instead.
Prior to Russia's offer of aid, Ukraine had been in prolonged discussions with the IMF over a new loan program. Its prior $15-billion IMF loan lapsed in 2011 over Kiev's refusal to end costly energy subsidies.
(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)