UPDATE 1-IMF says no need for Ukraine debt restructuring now
(Adds further comments, background)
WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund, which on Thursday approved a new aid package for Ukraine, said it does not see a need to restructure the country's debt at this time.
"We don't proceed with programs if they're deemed to be unsustainable," IMF spokesman Bill Murray told reporters on Thursday. "So the fact that we're proceeding with the program indicates we don't envisage at this point a debt restructuring."
Murray added that he believed Ukraine's new government was committed to economic reforms.
"We've consulted widely in Ukraine across the political spectrum," he said. "The Ukrainian authorities have voiced publicly and privately a keen interest in getting their economic house in order."
The IMF's two most recent programs with Ukraine went off track because of the previous governments' failure to follow through with politically difficult measures such as raising gas prices, which the IMF said was necessary to put the government's finances in order.
But Kiev on Wednesday said it would raise the price of energy for domestic consumers by more than 50 percent from May 1, seen as a gesture to secure the IMF package. The country's prime minister has said his government was on a "kamikaze" mission to take painful decisions.
The IMF on Thursday said it would lend Kiev $14 to $18 billion over two years to help the heavily indebted ex-Soviet republic stabilize its economy. The country has been in turmoil since anti-government protests resulted in the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich, and a standoff with Moscow in which Russia annexed the Crimea region. (Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by James Dalgleish)
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