World Economy

$17.5b IMF Loan for Ukraine

$17.5b IMF Loan for Ukraine$17.5b IMF Loan for Ukraine

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) handed Ukraine a $17.5 billion lifeline Wednesday as the United States agreed to send military aid to bolster its forces against pro-Russian rebels – but stopped short of promising weapons.

The US also expanded the reach of its economic sanctions, targeting a Russian bank and separatist officials in eastern Ukraine – a move Moscow branded a “political provocation” that would only worsen the crisis, France24 reported.

After a call with US Vice President Joe Biden and a meeting in Kiev with US congressmen, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko thanked the US for the offer to send military equipment – but not weapons – worth $75 million.

Ukraine has asked western powers for weapons to help it fight the rebellion, but Washington remains cautious and key ally Germany remains flat-out opposed to supplying munitions.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama was concerned that sending more weapons to an already unstable region would lead to greater bloodshed.

“The president is mindful of the fact that there is not a military solution to this problem,” he said.

US officials said the package would include 230 Humvee vehicles, unarmed Raven drones, counter-mortar radars, night vision devices and various medical and communications gear.

Meanwhile, new US sanctions targeted officials in the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in Ukraine, as well as a Russian bank and a nationalist group.