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Friday, 28 February 2014 | MYT 11:35 PM

IMF's Lagarde says no need to panic on Ukraine aid request

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the International Monetary Fund said on Friday that there was no need to "panic" in terms of delivering economic aid to Ukraine, which has been hit with economic turmoil after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich.

"We do not see anything that is critical, that is worthy of panic at the moment," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told reporters. "We would certainly hope that the (Ukrainian) authorities refrain from throwing lots of numbers which are really meaningless until they've been assessed properly."

She spoke at the German embassy in Washington after a breakfast with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Ukraine's new leaders say they need $35 billion over two years to avoid bankruptcy. And an EU diplomat said Ukraine had asked for an immediate infusion of $4 billion.

The country's finance minister said he hoped that the IMF would work on an aid package of at least $15 billion. An IMF team is set to arrive in Kiev early next week to assess the economic situation and start working on a loan program.

"I think it's highly premature to assess financial needs, numbers here, numbers there," Lagarde said. "We need to rely on facts, we need to rely on the situation as it is."

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by James Dalgleish and Chizu Nomiyama)


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