March 5 - European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso says the 28-member bloc is ready to provide 11 billion euros of financial aid to Ukraine. But coordinated action to persuade Moscow to withdraw its troops from Crimea still appears unlikely. David Pollard reports.
Help for Ukraine is on its way from the European Union - in the form of financial assistance. European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso. SOUNDBITE (English) EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT, JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, SAYING: "The package combined could bring an overall support of at least 11 billion euros over the next couple of years, from the EU budget and EU-based international financial institutions. It is a package designed to assist a comittted, inclusive and reforms-oriented Ukrainian government." The announcement came at meeting of European commissioners in Brussels - ahead of a leaders' emergency summit there on Thursday. And just a day after the U.S. offered one billion dollars in loan guarantees - and to send technical experts to Ukraine to advise the central bank and finance ministry. Ukraine's new administration says it needs 35 billion dollars to stay afloat - though the EU says its short-term needs are much less. It's close to bankruptcy due to economic mismanagement, high energy costs and currency turmoil. The West has been stepping up efforts to persuade Moscow to pull its forces from the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula. But an agreement on coordinated sanctions still appears unlikely. IG's Brenda Kelly. SOUNDBITE (English) IG MARKET ANALYST, BRENDA KELLY, SAYING: ''I think what is really clear is that while the U.S. seemed determined to impose trade sanctions, they're not necessarily getting a bilateral agreement in relation to the euro zone. Obviously, Germany would be the main conduit there between Russia and the US. And of course, Angela Merkel will not want to sour relations because the alternatives that the euro zone have in terms of energy supply are limited whereas in fact in the U.S., they wouldn't have the same problem. So from that perspective, it does seem that the U.S. are maybe on their own there." The aid package would in part depend on Ukraine signing a deal with the IMF. The EU also plans to bring forward trade benefits Ukraine would have received, if it had signed an association deal with the EU last year.