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Ukraine expects $17 billion IMF bailout package in early 2015

Ukraine expects $17 billion IMF bailout package in early 2015

KIEV: Ukraine expects the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to pay out new and past due loans after a visit next month and still hopes a $17 billion (11 billion pounds) bailout programme can be expanded.

Valeria Gontareva declined to give a value for the payment, but it is likely to total more than $4 billion. With its economy pushed close to bankruptcy by a separatist war in the east and costly energy imports from Russia, Ukraine hustled through an austerity budget on Monday which it hopes will impress the Fund when a mission visits Kiev from Jan. 8.

The government is struggling to control an economic slide and a crisis in relations with Russia following the overthrow of a Moscow backed president in February, has since said the aid programme will need to be expanded.

The former Soviet republic has so far received two tranches of aid worth a combined $4.6 billion under the IMF led bailout package that was agreed in April to support the economyand shore up depleted foreign currency reserves.

But the IMF and the government’s Western backers including the European Union say any further financial assistance will hinge on Ukraine’s ability to implement long promised reforms.