The European Union announced Wednesday it will offer Ukraine at least $15 billion (€11 billion) in aid as the country struggles with dwindling cash and a military standoff with Russia.
Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the EU's executive body, said the package would provide Ukraine with assistanceover the next few years. The aim is to help the country stabilize its economy and finances and work toward political and economic reforms.
Experts have been predicting Ukraine could default this month on its billions of dollars in debts. The country owes roughly $13 billion in debt this year.
Many of the country's debts are denominated in U.S. dollars, which were becoming increasingly difficult to pay back as the value of the country's currency fell sharply this year.
On Wednesday, Ukraine said it would not be able to pay its February natural gas bill to the energy company Gazprom. Ukraine owes the Russian firm nearly $2 billion.
Meanwhile, a report from Interfax said the Ukrainian finance minister is hoping to restructure the country's foreign debt.
On Tuesday, Putin said that if Russian-speaking citizens in the east of Ukraine ask for help, Russia has the right "to take all measures to protect the rights of those people." He repeatedly cast any intervention as a humanitarian mission, though the international community is calling it an "act of aggression."