Ukraine in the Department of State Press Briefing

QUESTION:  So Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has recently resigned and now we know that one of his possible successors, head of the parliament Mr. Groysman, has refused to head the new cabinet.  What are the U.S. expectations from the new government, especially in terms of lasting cooperation in and providing financial support for Kyiv?

MR TONER:  Sure.  Well, first of all, we thank Prime Minister Yatsenyuk for his tireless efforts to – on behalf of Ukraine really during an historic time, as we all know, for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.  We also welcome his intention to remain engaged in the process of pursuing needed economic reforms, needed political reforms to ensure the future stability and prosperity of Ukraine, as well as its territorial integrity.

I would say, more broadly speaking, we believe it’s important that the Rada approve as soon as possible a new cabinet that is committed to implementing needed reforms, in particular those recommended by the IMF, the International Monetary Fund, as well as the European Union.  And I would just say that we do believe that the Government of Ukraine will carry out needed reforms.  We do believe it’s implementing and will continue to implement its Minsk agreements, and it’s really the joint responsibility of Ukraine’s president, its prime minister, and all those in government to put aside their differences and to deliver on the reforms that Ukrainians need.

QUESTION:  Thank you.

MR TONER:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Is there – is that resignation of the prime minister of Ukraine has any implication to the status of U.S. loan guarantee to Ukraine?  Does the United States give Ukraine any assurance of giving a loan guarantee if there is a new government formed?

MR TONER:  We’ll continue to work with the Government of Ukraine to finalize our loan guarantee agreement, and that – which will specify the conditions for the loan guarantee.  But as was the case with previous loan guarantees issued in May 2014 and also May 2015, this agreement will be conditioned on Ukraine’s progress in implementing needed reforms or needed – implementing key steps, rather, in the economic reform program.  In particular, our conditions will reinforce adherence to new IMF program – to the new IMF program, as well as other steps needed to restore economic stability, counter corruption, strengthen rule of law and government – governance, and also ensure a social safety net that’s stronger and advance other critical structural reform.

So again, pivoting back to what I just said earlier, it’s really the responsibility now of the entire Ukrainian Government to pull together and to continue on the path of this – of the economic and political reforms they’ve already undertaken in order to deliver on what the Ukrainian people need.

QUESTION:  Mark, the reason I ask is because yesterday the president of Ukraine said on TV – said that he – when – while he was in Washington during the Nuclear Security Summit, he got a word from the White House saying that Ukraine will receive the $1 billion loan guarantee if the new government is formed.  Could you verify?

MR TONER:  I – so – no, that’s okay, Nike.

QUESTION:  (Inaudible.)

MR TONER:  It’s a legitimate question.  I just don’t – I’m not privy to whatever conversation he may or may not have had with the President on this.  I – again, though, that’s – all I’m saying is that – exactly what Poroshenko – President Poroshenko may have been intimating, which is that what we need to see now are – that they continue to deliver on and meet the reforms they need to meet in order for that loan guarantee to continue.

QUESTION:  But did the United States give Ukraine any assurance that they would receive —

MR TONER:  Again, I just don’t have – I don’t have a readout on what conversations they may or may not have had.  I just don’t.  Not saying yes or no.