BRUSSELS (dpa) – The International Monetary Fund has reached a deal with Ukraine that would offer the cash-strapped country US$17.5 billion over the next four years, in return for “ambitious” reforms, IMF chief Catherine Lagarde announced Thursday.
While fighting a pro-Russian insurgency in the east of the country, cash-strapped Kiev has been negotiating a package of deep economic and political reforms, in return for a much-needed international financial lifeline.
The deal still requires the approval of the IMF’s executive board, Lagarde said, adding that she would submit it for review “hopefully before the end of February”.
“It is an ambitious programme; it is a tough programme, and it is not without risk,” the IMF chief said. But she also said it is “realistic”, as it is based on “reforms the (Ukrainian) authorities feel confident they can deliver”.
The biggest risk to the programme are “geo-political developments that may affect market and investor confidence”, Lagarde said, adding that the IMF had factored in the conflict in eas-tern Ukraine, by making “conservative” economic assumptions.
The aid is part of an international financing package totalling around 40 billion dollars. La-garde would not say whether that figure inclu-
des assistance offered by Russia.