— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on March 4, Tuesday.
Welcome to the CNBC Business Daily.
As the Crimean stand off between Russia and Ukraine drags on, CNBC's Steve Sedgwick spoke to Ukrainian Economy Ministser Pavlo Sheremeta in Kiev about the state of the nation's economy:
Sheremeta: What we see is Russia, is in our opinion, violating the Budapest Protocol about the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We believe the situation must be de-escalated. Only through peaceful means, through the communication discussion and peaceful negotiation.
Sedgewick: Whilst the Ukrainian armed forces are being mobilised, am I right in understanding they have an order not to engage Russian forces despite provocation?
Sedgewick: So in terms of the twin crises, we have one, the threat from the Russians on Ukrainian territory plus we have the economic crisis as well. How near to economic collapse is the Ukraine?
Sheremeta: If that is not a collapse then what is a collapse? The Treasury is empty, the debts are big, we need to quickly design and implement the austerity program, and economic and structural reforms program, which we are doing at the moment.
Sedgewick: One MP told me today the austerity program would be a kamikaze program for your government. It would be very unpopular and make it difficult to govern. Do you agree with that?
Sheremeta: We agree that this is a tough move, but at the same time we also agree that there are measures that can neutralize the negative effects. For example if you make business much easier and much cheaper, hopefully it will neutralize all the negative effects of the austerity measures.
Sedgewick: You mentioned the Treasuries are empty. Ukraine has no more foreign currency reserves left?
Sheremeta: No, no it does have. It has 15 billion dollars in reserves. But this amount is not sufficient.
Sedgewick: Not sufficient for how long?
Sheremeta: It's traditional economic measures to have above 2.5 of a month worth of imports and what we have at the moment is two months.
Sedgewick: In terms of support from the international community, from the EU and IMF, are they moving too slowly to give support to the Ukraine?
Sheremeta: No they are moving well We have the Commissioner of IMF already in town. We are starting negotiations tomorrow. We have the working group at the moment in my office developing, finalizing proposals from our side. So the process is going very well.
Sedgewick: So you are expecting an imminent announcement from EU and IMF authorities supporting the Ukraine?
Sheremeta: Well we still have the discussion and negotiation process that will take four or five days.
Sedgewick: Sir, thank you very much.
CNBC's Steve Sedgwick there, speaking to Ukrainian Economy Ministser Pavlo Sheremeta in Kiev.
I'm Sri Jegarajah, reporting from CNBC's headquarters in Singapore. Thank you for watching.
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