Crimea's deputy prime minister, Olga Kovitidi, described as predatory the terms of an agreement Kiev is ready to accept from the International Monetary Fund.
The tentative agreement with the IMF which the Ukrainian authorities signed with the IMF on March 2, says that the country's entire gas pipeline system will be handed over for free in the American company Chevron's ownership the moment the basic agreement is signed, while the owners of the Mariupol, Zaporizhzhya and Dnipropetrovsk steel mills will be obliged to surrender their 50 percent stakes to Germany's Ruhr. The Donbass coal industry will be handed over to Ruhr's subsidiary in Finland, she told Interfax on Sunday, citing media reports.
It emerged recently that Kiev has pledged to make territory available near Kharkiv to host U.S. missile defense systems and a wing of American fighter jets to provide cover for the missile defense installations, she also said.
Ukraine's interim prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has assured the West that Kiev will fulfill all of the IMF's terms in order to secure a loan, Kovitidi said.
The Crimean leaders have also learned that Kiev promised the West to take a package of unpopular measures in order to fill gaps in the Ukrainian budget, she said. Gas prices for municipal companies will have to be increased by 50 percent and for private will double.
Electricity tariffs will be raised by 40 percent, housing utility tariffs will be raised, too, gasoline excises will go up 60 percent and transportation tariffs 50 percent, while state support for childbirth will be cancelled, the free distribution of textbooks will be annulled at schools and the VAT relief will be scrapped in rural regions, she said.
Concurrently, VAT will be introduced on medications, which will push up prices and bring citizens' living standards down," Kovitidi said.
"The planned annulment of the moratorium on the sale of farmland looks appalling. The selloff of Ukraine's black soil zone, including to foreign countries, may have disastrous economic and social consequences," she said.
Kovitidi said that the Crimean legislature's decision to hold a referendum on March 16 was correct.
"The recent developments in Ukraine and the decisions being made have a direct bearing on the people of Crimea, who must know the truth and decide their own and their children's future in a referendum," she said.
Following consultations with the Ukrainian prime ministers and representatives of the economic bloc of the Ukrainian government in Kiev on March 6-7, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stated its readiness to provide assistance to the people of Ukraine and support the economic program of the Cabinet of Ministers, the IMF said in a press release.
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