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IMF says its team will be in Kiev next week

WASHINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said it would send a fact-finding team to Ukraine next week in response to the country's request for support after the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said earlier that the IMF and its international partners were discussing how to help Ukraine. The IMF team being sent to Kiev will have preliminary talks with authorities there, Lagarde added.

"This will enable the IMF to make its usual technical, independent assessment of the economic situation in Ukraine and, at the same time, begin to discuss with the authorities the policy reforms that could form the basis of a Fund-supported program," Lagarde said in a statement.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said it would be premature to say what conditions Ukraine would be required to follow in order to get an IMF bailout, or how much money the IMF would be prepared to give.

"Broadly, we would expect that the main elements of that Article 4 would remain valid," he said, referring to the IMF's last analysis of Ukraine's economy in October.

In that analysis, the Fund urged Ukraine to raise gas prices for domestic consumers and introduce a flexible exchange rate for the hryvnia currency - both unpopular steps previously rejected by the Kiev government.