KIEV (dpa) – President Petro Poroshenko has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to increase its financial assistance to Ukraine, which faces a 15-billion-dollar budget shortfall and needs to hike defence spending to fund the fight against Russia-backed separatists.
Poroshenko made the request during a phonecall with IMF chief Christine Lagarde, his office said on Saturday. The IMF has already earmarked 17 billion dollars to a bailout programme for Ukraine, conditioning the aid on reforms that include raising gas prices and welfare cutbacks.
Poroshenko was re-elected in an October election won by pro-Western parties. He has vowed to implement sweeping fiscal reform and move Ukraine closer to Europe and the West, including joining the European Union and NATO.
Poroshenko succeeded Viktor Yanukovych, who fled the country in March after mass demonstrations by pro-Western protesters. Russia annexed Crimea the following month and backed an armed uprising in eastern Ukraine, prompting sanctions by Western powers.