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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

G-7 AID PLEASES UKRAINE WHICH PONDERS OPTIONS

KIEV -- Ukrainian leaders expressed satisfaction at aid offered by the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations but were cautious about how it would help stalled reforms.


In addition to the $4 billion offered by the G-7 in return for Ukraine's "renewed commitment to comprehensive market reform," an additional $200 million was made available to close down the Chernobyl nuclear power station.


Ukraine Prime Minister Vitaly Masol said a priority for closing Chernobyl more than eight years after the world's worst nuclear accident was finding jobs for the plant's 4,000 staff.


"It is easier to close the station than to solve these social issues," he said.


The new Ukrainian president, Leonid Kuchma, has also gone on record as supporting nuclear disarmament, but has said more aid than has been offered is needed.


Masol added that the aid was necessary to proceed with reforms. But he said he would wait to see what commitments the nations would take before passing judgment on the proposal.


"I am of the opinion that G-7 must help Ukraine solve its problems, first and foremost to improve its economic situation," Masol, who was appointed only three weks ago, said Sunday.


"We shall have to wait and see. G-7 has already made plenty of promises to Russia and other countries. We must work together with the World Bank and other financial organizations. We need their help to get started."


The European Community estimates the cost of closing Chernobyl and finding alternative energy sources at about $1.5 billion. Ukrainian assessments stand at between $4 and $6 billion.


Four post-Soviet governments in Ukraine have barely even begun any market reforms and the economy is suffering catastrophic collapse.


The former president, Leonid Kravchuk, who lost a presidential run-off vote at the weekend, has complained that there was not even agreement on fundamentals to implement reform.