World Bank to provide Ukraine up to $3 billion this year

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 10, 2014 4:45pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank said on Monday it plans to provide Ukraine with up to $3 billion in 2014 to support the country's new government in the midst of its current crisis, though only part of the money would be new.

The bank, a Washington-based lender that focuses on ending poverty, already has several projects in Ukraine. About $2 billion in the funds will be disbursed this year as part of ongoing projects.

Another pot of cash, up to $1 billion, would go directly to the government if it implements economic reforms to get its finances in order.

Officials from the International Monetary Fund are in Kiev this week to discuss a possible lending program for Ukraine, where the government says it is nearing bankruptcy. Kiev is also dealing with Russia's seizure of its Crimea region.

IMF support would be conditioned on the government undertaking reforms such as floating the hryvnia currency and raising domestic gas prices, which are now heavily subsidized.

"We are moving forward with our pipeline of projects and aim to support the government to undertake the reforms badly needed to put the economy on a path to sustainability," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.

The development lender said it is implementing an investment and guarantee program in Ukraine totaling $3.7 billion, which supports the private sector and delivery of public services such as water supply and roads.

"We are committed to supporting the people of Ukraine in these difficult times and very much hope that the situation in the country stabilizes soon," Kim said.

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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