IMF approves $5bn stand-by arrangement for Ukraine

The IMF Executive Board on Tuesday approved an 18-month stand-By arrangement for Ukraine, which Kiev says is needed to stave off default as the coronavirus pandemic plunges the country's economy into recession, news wires reported. Ukraine will receive an immediate disbursement of about $2.1bn.

The rest of the funds will be spread over four reviews during the programme, which focuses more on stability than deep structural reforms, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.

"That's $200 mln more than originally planned," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on his official Twitter account. "The new program funding will help us to overcome the challenges caused by #COVID19. The #IMF has proven itself to be a reliable partner to a friend in need."

Zelenskiy's government has trumpeted the agreement as a vote of confidence in its ability to deliver reforms, including a banking law that went against the interests of one of the country's wealthiest tycoons.

One of Europe's poorest countries, Ukraine does not have the financial power for major stimulus measures to keep its economy afloat as a nationwide coronavirus lockdown, imposed  in March, hit many businesses.

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