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IMF To Loan Ukraine $14-18Bln in Next Two Years

The International Monetary Fund has reached an agreement with Ukraine to loan $14-$18 billion within a standy-by stabilizing program, Prime news agency said, citing a statement released by the IMF on Thursday.

MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) - The International Monetary Fund announced Thursday it had reached a tentative agreement to loan Ukraine up to $18 billion in a bid to save the country's shattered economy.

The agreement is subject to further approval at a meeting of the fund's leadership in April, which will depend upon "the authorities' adoption of a strong and comprehensive package of prior actions aiming to stabilize the economy and create conditions for sustained growth," the IMF said in its statement.

One of the main reforms is to be an increase in the price of natural gas, which has been sold below cost by Ukraine's state-owned Naftogaz, the IMF said.

The Ukrainian economy has been hard hit by the ongoing political crisis following the unconstitutional seizure of power last month by the country's new leadership, which includes a number of far-right ultranationalists in key positions.

Crimea, a predominantly ethnic Russian region, rejected the legitimacy of the new government and moved to rejoin Russia after the government in Kiev introduced measures aimed against Russian-speakers in the country.

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