IMF gives green light to $15.6bn loan programme
The International Monetary Fund’s executive board has approved a four-year $15.6bn loan programme for Ukraine, part of a global $115bn package to support the economy.
The decision clears the way for an immediate disbursement of about $2.7bn to Kyiv, and requires Ukraine to carry out ambitious reforms, especially in the energy sector, the fund said.
The extended fund facility (EFF) loan is the first major conventional financing programme approved by the IMF for a country involved in a large-scale war.
Ukraine’s previous $5bn long-term IMF programme was cancelled in March 2022 when the fund provided $1.4bn in emergency financing with few conditions. It provided another $1.3bn under a “food shock window” program last October.
An IMF official said the $115bn package includes the IMF loan, $80bn in pledges for grants and concessional loans from multilateral institutions and other countries, and $20bn worth of debt relief commitments.
Ukraine must meet certain conditions over the next two years, including steps to boost tax revenue, maintain exchange rate stability, preserve central bank independence and strengthen anti-corruption efforts.
“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to have a devastating economic and social impact,” the IMF first deputy managing director, Gita Gopinath, said, lauding Ukrainian authorities for maintaining “overall macroeconomic and financial stability” despite the strains of the war.
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, welcomed the new funding.
“It is an important help in our fight against Russian aggression,” he said on Twitter. “Together we support the Ukrainian economy. And we are moving forward to victory!”
The US treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, who pushed hard for the past year to secure the IMF funding package, said it would help secure the country’s economic and financial stability and set the foundation for long-term reconstruction.
Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine. We’ll be bringing you the latest developments as they happen.
Our top story this morning:
The International Monetary Fund’s executive board approved a four-year $15.6bn loan programme for Ukraine, part of a global $115bn package to support the country’s economy.
The decision clears the way for an immediate disbursement of about $2.7bn to Kyiv, and requires Ukraine to carry out ambitious reforms, especially in the energy sector.
“It is an important help in our fight against Russian aggression,” the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, tweeted.
We’ll have more on this story shortly. In the meantime here are the key recent developments:
Joe Biden has called on Russia to release Evan Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter arrested this week on espionage charges and facing 20 years in jail. “Let him go,” the US president said, when asked about the case. The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has described the espionage charges as “ridiculous”. Russian officials continued to speak about Gershkovich in terms suggesting his conviction was a foregone conclusion.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, will chair a UN security council meeting when Russia assumes the council presidency on Saturday. “As of 1 April, they’re taking the level of absurdity to a new level,” said Sergiy Kyslytsya, Kyiv’s permanent representative. Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said it was a “stark reminder that something is wrong with the way international security architecture is functioning”.
Ukraine will never forgive the Russian troops responsible for alleged atrocities in Bucha, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said, as the town near Kyiv marked the anniversary of its recapture after 33 days of occupation in 2022. The leaders of Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia travelled to Ukraine on Friday to take part in commemorative events, the Croatian government said.
Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has encouraged the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, to speak to Volodymyr Zelenskiy and learn first-hand Ukraine’s peace formula to help end Russia’s invasion. Sanchez, speaking during his visit to China, said he had informed Xi that Spain supported the Ukrainian president’s proposals, including a demand to restore Ukraine’s territory to before Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. Xi called for an end to a “cold war mentality” and to the pressure of “extreme” sanctions against Russia.
Finland will formally be welcomed into Nato “within days” after Turkey’s ratification of its accession to the western defence alliance, the Nato secretary general has announced. The Turkish parliament was the last among the 30 members of the alliance to ratify Finland’s membership, after Hungary’s legislature approved a similar bill this week. Sweden’s Nato bid faces objections from Turkey which accuses it of harbouring members of terrorist groups.
Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian president, said he had intensified talks with Russia about deploying nuclear weapons in Belarus, alleging there were plans for neighbouring Poland to invade. Belarus had deployed a special forces contingent to its southern border with Ukraine “to prevent provocations”, he added.
Russian and Belarusian players will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon and the British grass-court tournaments this year after the All England Club and the LTA jointly opted to reverse their bans on players for this season’s events. Russian and Belarusian players will be required to sign neutrality agreements, which prohibit them from expressing support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, receiving funding from the Russian or Belarusian state, or being sponsored by organisations funded by their governments.
Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to call up 147,000 Russian citizens for statutory military service as part of the spring conscription campaign, Russian state media reported. The Russian leader last signed a routine conscription campaign in September, calling up 120,000 citizens for statutory service, the Tass news agency said. The general staff of the armed forces of the Russian Federation stated that it was not a second wave of mobilisation.
The UN human rights chief, Volker Türk, has said “severe violations” of human rights and international humanitarian law have become “shockingly routine” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The number of civilian casualties in Ukraine was far higher than official figures showed, Türk said in an address to the UN’s human rights council in Geneva, where he said Ukraine was a nation “struggling to survive” in the face of Russia’s invasion.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, has rejected charges brought against Vladimir Putin by the international criminal court (ICC) for overseeing the abduction of Ukrainian children. The ICC issued an arrest warrant in March for Russia’s president and his children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, for the “unlawful deportation” of Ukrainian children and their transfer from areas of Ukraine occupied by Russian forces.