Ukraine Desperately Seeks Foreign Aid

Acting President Oleksander Turchinov says economy is "heading into the abyss"

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Ukraine made an urgent call on Monday for $35 billion in foreign assistance over the next two years, following the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovych on Saturday.

The finance ministry issued a statement on Monday suggesting an international donor conference attended by representatives from the U.S., E.U. and the International Monetary Fund. It said it needed the first aid in the next week or two, reports Reuters.

Acting President Oleksander Turchinov, who was appointed interim leader after Yanukovych was stripped of his powers by parliament, said on Sunday that the country was near default and that the economy “is heading into the abyss.”

On Friday, ratings agency Standard & Poor downgraded Ukraine’s credit status to two levels above default. “We now believe it is likely Ukraine will default in the absence of significantly favorable changes in circumstances, which we do not anticipate,” said the agency.

Ukraine spiralled into crisis in November after Yanukovych rejected a trade deal with the E.U. in favor of maintaining ties with Russia. The government has now issued an arrest warrant for the deposed Ukrainian leader, who was reportedly last seen in Crimea.