IMF offers Ukraine up to $18 billion in loansUpdated: 2014-03-28 14:32:37 KST
The International Monetary Fund on Thursday
approved a bailout of up to 18 billion U.S. dollars for Ukraine, throwing a much-needed lifeline to the crisis-stricken nation.
Ukraine has been on the verge of default since the ousting of former President Viktor Yanukovich cut off 15 billion dollars in aid from Russia.
In a statement, the IMF said the two-year package is expected to unlock more loans from the international community, including the U.S. and the European Union, to a total of about 27 billion dollars.
In return for the cash injection, Kiev has promised to undertake stringent economic, energy and financial reforms.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said the nation's economy could contract by up to 10-percent this year, without IMF support.
On Wednesday, the new government agreed to raise the price of domestic gas by 50-percent from May, a demand of the IMF.
U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed the IMF agreement, calling it a major step forward, that would help stabilize Ukraine's economy.
U.S. Congress on Thursday also overwhelmingly passed bills that provide 1-billion dollars in loan guarantees to Ukraine, and impose sanctions on Russia for its actions in Crimea.
Moscow officially annexed Crimea following a referendum on March 16.
The United Nations has also thrown its support behind Ukraine.
It approved a non-binding resolution that affirmed Ukraine's territorial integrity and called the Russia-backed referendum vote for Crimea's secession illegal.
The largely-symbolic resolution was backed by 1-hundred countries with 11 voting against and 58 abstentions.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.