Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says his country urgently needs $10 billion to avoid bankruptcy.
After meeting with European Union ministers in Brussels Monday, reporters asked Yatsenyuk when he needs the money. He replied "yesterday."
Ukraine's war with pro-Russian separatists has battered an already bad economy. Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, is at a record low.
The EU is demanding that Ukraine implement economic reforms in exchange for financial aid.
But Yatsenyuk said it is hard to fight a nuclear state "armed to the teeth" — a reference to Russia, which has allegedly sent soldiers and weapons to Ukrainian separatists.
Russia denies involvement in eastern Ukraine, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Interfax news agency Monday that Moscow wants rebel-controlled areas to remain part of Ukraine.
Lavrov said Moscow is insisting on "constitutional reform involving all regions and all political forces."
The United Nations reported Monday that at least 4,707 people have been killed since the conflict in eastern Ukraine began in April.
The report says there is a "total breakdown in law and order" in eastern Ukraine. It says this is fueled by heavy weapons and foreign fighters crossing the borders, including from Russia.
U.N. human rights official Gianni Magazzeni says people living in areas of eastern Ukraine controlled by the separatists are experiencing murder, kidnapping, torture, rape and forced labor.
Some information for this report comes from Reuters.