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US diplomat: US aid to Ukraine is possible, but country must undertake significant reforms

  • US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland lights a candle in St. Michael Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Nuland arrived in the Ukrainian capital to try to help find a resolution to the protests and political crisis that have gripped the country for more than two months. The U.S. Embassy says Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is to meet President Viktor Yanukovych and leaders of the opposition during her two visit to Kiev. (AP Photo/ Pool)The Associated Press

  • Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych, left, greets U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Nuland and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, thinking their conversation about the Ukraine was secure and private, were caught disparaging the European Union in a phone call that was apparently bugged, and U.S. officials say they strongly suspect Russia of leaking the conversation. (AP Photo/Mykhailo Markiv, Pool)The Associated Press

  • Ukrainian riot policemen block a street near Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. Ukrainian protesters lambasted parliament on Thursday for its lack of action, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country's grinding political crisis. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)The Associated Press

  • An opposition supporter wearing a Ukrainian flag gestures as he sings the national anthem in the center of Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Ukrainian protesters lambasted parliament on Thursday for its lack of action, and a senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country's grinding political crisis. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met separately with President Viktor Yanukovych and with opposition leaders during her two-day stay in the Ukrainian capital. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)The Associated Press

  • An opposition supporter holds a Ukrainian flag in the center of Kiev's Independence Square, the epicenter of the country's current unrest, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Ukrainian protesters lambasted parliament on Thursday for its lack of action, and a senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Kiev to try to help find a resolution to the country's grinding political crisis. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met separately with President Viktor Yanukovych and with opposition leaders during her two-day stay in the Ukrainian capital. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)The Associated Press

A top U.S. diplomat says Washington is willing to consider financial aid to Ukraine as the country struggles through a polarizing political crisis, but only if it undertakes political and economic reforms.

The comment Friday by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland comes after the opposition leaders behind more than two months of protests suggested that Ukraine needs aid akin to the Marshall Plan, the U.S. program that propped up European nations after World War II to encourage political stability.

Ukraine's faltering economy is a key issue in the crisis. Huge protests began when President Viktor Yanukovych shelved an agreement to deepen ties with the 28-nation European Union in favor of getting a $15 billion loan from Russia. Many Ukrainians resent the long shadow Russia has cast over Ukraine.