The International Monetary Fund is expected to loan Ukraine $900 million to bridge the gap that arose at the beginning of this week when the Fund announced that it would not restart a $1.6 billion standby loan that it suspended in January. Until this week, the Ukrainian government had been expecting the loan to be restarted and was planning to use the money to defend its currency, fund spring sowing, and pay energy bills, but the IMF canceled the loan in response to news that the government had overshot its first quarter spending target. Now IMF officials say the Fund’s board of directors is likely decide in May to continue the extension of credits to Ukraine. Talks are currently being held in Kiev between the Ukrainian government and representatives of the IMF mission in Ukraine to agree on the terms of such a standby program. Western countries are said to be pressing the Fund to continue support for economic reform in Ukraine because of the country’s strategic importance. (BBC World Service, April 9; Interfax-Ukraine, April 11; Financial Times, April 12)
Russia-Belarus SSR Executive Committee Inaugurated.