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The seal of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is seen outside of a headquarters building in Washington, DC on April 7, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
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The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a third review of Ukraine's $15.6 billion loan program. This decision enables the release of $880 million designated for budget support, bringing the total disbursements to $5.4 billion, the IMF announced on March 21.

The international lender emphasized that Ukraine continues to face exceptionally high risks, mainly due to uncertainties related to the ongoing war with Russia and the outlook for external financial support. However, Ukraine mission chief Gavin Gray said that the IMF anticipates the war in Ukraine to de-escalate by the end of 2024, according to Reuters.

Gray said that Ukraine has maintained a robust performance on the IMF program throughout its initial year, meeting all but one of the quantitative performance criteria. The single discrepancy pertained to tax revenues, which was of minor significance.

Ukraine is expected to receive the funds in the coming days, according to Gray.

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the IMF, emphasized that Ukraine's macroeconomic and financial stability has been preserved despite "enormous social and economic costs" due to Russia's full-scale invasion.

"The economy has been resilient, with stronger-than-expected macroeconomic outturns in 2023. Ukraine’s performance and commitment under the program has continued to be strong," she said. "Steadfast reform momentum to enhance anti-corruption and governance frameworks, including ensuring the effectiveness of anticorruption institutions, will be essential to help contain fiscal risks, enhance growth and support the path to EU accession."

An external commercial debt treatment in line with program parameters will help "create the needed space for critical spending and restore debt sustainability," she added.

Charles Michel: ‘Europe must prepare for war’
If Europe wants to exist in peace it must shift to a “war economy” mode and significantly bolster defense capabilities in the face of the threat posed by Russia, European Council President Charles Michel said on March 18.
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8:28 PM

FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine.

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine's partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.
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