UPDATE 1-IMF says Ukrainian officials committed to reforms

Fri Mar 7, 2014 11:07am EST

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WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) - The International Monetary
Fund mission to Ukraine is "progressing well" and Ukrainian
authorities are committed to economic reforms, a senior IMF
official said on Friday after a visit to the country.
    Reza Moghadam, the director of the IMF's European
Department, visited Kiev as part of the Fund's fact-finding
mission to study Ukraine's finances. Ukrainian officials say
they are close to bankruptcy and have asked for international
aid.
    "I am positively impressed with the authorities'
determination, sense of responsibility and commitment to an
agenda of economic reform and transparency," Moghadam said in a
statement.
    The IMF is looking for signs Ukraine's new leaders are more
committed to reforms than their predecessors. Several IMF
bailouts for Ukraine went off track after previous governments
failed to follow through on reform pledges.
    Moghadam added the IMF "stands ready" to help Ukraine and
put its economy on a path of sustainable growth.
    Ukraine's government coffers have been depleted by huge debt
repayments, efforts to protect its currency and high energy
costs. The country is also struggling to cope with a crisis in
Crimea, where the parliament voted on Thursday to join Russia.
 
    Support from the Washington-based IMF is seen as critical to
shore up Ukraine's collapsing finances and get its economy on
the right track. The United States and European Union say they
are willing to provide funds alongside an IMF program. Russia
also supports the Fund's involvement.
    Ukraine's finance minister said he hoped the IMF would work
on an aid package of at least $15 billion. That figure would be
in line with the IMF's last loan to Ukraine in 2010, which was
frozen a year later after Kiev failed to implement the required
reforms, including removing gas price subsidies.
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