BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union re-leased 500 million euros in loans to Ukraine on Wednesday, the latest portion of a 1.6-billion-euro (US$2 billion) aid programme launched in March to rescue an almost bankrupt Kiev government.
The expected payout comes a day after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko un-veiled a new government tasked with pu-shing through anti-corruption reforms, a key condition of the EU’s loan programme.
“We are providing essential financial support at a time of extraordinary econo-mic and social challenges for the Ukrainian people,” the EU’s Economic Affairs Com-missioner Pierre Moscovici said in a state-ment.
“In turn, it is vital the country maintain the momentum of reform so as to create the conditions for sustainable prosperity for all Ukrainians,” he added.
The EU and international lenders have already provided billions of euros in loans and grants since a revolution overthrew a pro-Russian government in February, sparking a separatist war in the east and a deep economic crisis.
Brussels has however repeatedly postpo-ned plans for a donors’ meeting to help Ukraine’s crippled economy and instead urged Kiev to reduce its reliance on borrowing and handouts.