Immediate economic prospects for Ukraine will be extremely difficult without a fourth $3.8 billion tranche of funds from the International Monetary Fund, Ukraine's prime minister said on Wednesday.

We consider that continuing Ukraine's cooperation with the IMF is necessary, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko told a gathering of ambassador from the Group of Eight nations.

Following the road to the end of the presidential campaign, to the stabilisation of the political situation in Ukraine and overcoming the financial-economic crisis without the fourth tranche of IMF funds will be extremely difficult, she said.

She was referring to the fourth tranche of a $16.4 billion standby programme which the IMF has suspended after parliament passed a bill raising the minimum wage.

IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said last week that the fund was unlikely to continue cooperation with Ukraine until after the Jan. 17 election for president.