IMF board approves $17 billion in assistance for Ukraine


WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund board has approved a two-year, $17 billion loan package for Ukraine.

The IMF announced the assistance Wednesday after a board meeting at the fund’s Washington headquarters.

The IMF assistance pledged in March was hinged on economic reforms in Ukraine. The changes included raising taxes, freezing the minimum wage and raising energy prices — all steps that could hit households hard and strain the interim government’s tenuous hold on power.

Ukraine, a nation of 46 million, is in turmoil after Russia annexed Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin has massed 40,000 troops on Russia’s border with Ukraine in what many fear is the first step to an invasion.

Russia’s actions have created a standoff with the United States and many European nations.

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