Ukraine could default if government policy unchanged

International Monetary Fund (IMF) LogoKiev - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko on Wednesday warned of a potential default and financial crash, if the country's government continues "irresponsible populist policies."

Yushchenko in an exclusive interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa blamed Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her cabinet for failing to respond to the impact of the international financial crisis, placing Ukraine's economy on a road to disaster.

"If we (the Tymoshenko government) continue on the path that we are on, the end result cannot be good," Yushchenko said. "What is needed is responsible, strong, across-the-board anti-crisis legislation... but clearly the Prime Minister is not focused on that."

Tymoshenko's "irresponsible" monetary and fiscal policies have left Ukraine in danger of losing funding from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and unable to pay foreign obligations or meet the government budget, Yushchenko argued.

The Ukrainian leader avoided using the word "default," but his comments nonetheless were the direst yet made in public by a senior Ukrainian official on the international financial crisis' impact on the former Soviet republic.

"It is not for a national leader to say 'default' or 'bankruptcy'... but the situation is extremely serious," Yushchenko said. (dpa)