Ukraine has asked the International Monetary Fund for an emergency loan of $2bn (£1.2bn).
The former Soviet republic, whose economy has shrunk 15 per cent this year, said it needed the money to meet its external obligations and to avoid a "spill-over effect" on other economically vulnerable states. "The next three months are crucial," said Hryhoriy Nemyria, the deputy prime minister.
Ukraine's obligations could include its bill for gas supplied by Russia's Gazprom, a source of continuing tension, as well as wages and foreign debt. Ukraine has received $11bn of a $16.4bn IMF loan. The rest was suspended after the IMF said the country had to implement economic reforms before it got any more.