Ukrainian authorities have asked the International Monetary Fund for help in stemming a financial crisis in the country, the organization said Wednesday, AP reported.

The government took emergency measures to rescue banks and stabilize the national currency, the hryvna, after worried depositors withdrew more than US$1 billion from their accounts this month, spooked by a fall in the national currency, a shaken banking sector and a stock market crash.

An IMF delegation in Ukraine on Wednesday will meet with officials to discuss economic policies, the organization said.

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Prime Minister Tymoshenko on Tuesday dodged a question about whether the country was seeking an IMF loan, saying only that Ukraine`s contacts with international organizations were proceeding as usual.

The central bank declined to comment Wednesday.

The government said it was freezing transportation costs, lowering natural gas prices and planning to cap electricity costs for the steel and chemistry industries in an effort to boost the core sectors of the national economy.

Meanwhile, the central bank pressed ahead with efforts to sell a troubled bank, and said it had enough reserves to shore up the fallen hryvna.

The measures follow a central bank freeze of selected retail accounts across the country, limits on loans and measures to stabilize the hryvna, after worried depositors withdrew cash worth more than US$1.3 billion from their accounts this month.

AP via International Herald Tribune