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May 27, 2017

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IMF's Lagarde says Ukraine may need more aid

WASHINGTON--The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, said Tuesday that Ukraine may need more international aid if its crisis with the pro-Russia separatist rebellion is prolonged.

"As it stands and under current circumstances and the set of our assumptions, which includes a conflict that eventually is resolved in a not-too-distant future, no additional financing is needed," Lagarde said at a news conference at IMF headquarters in Washington.

But "if any of those parameters changes ... additional financing might very well be needed" in 12 months, said Lagarde, managing director of the 188-nation institution.

In late April, the IMF approved a US$17 billion line of credit to Ukraine, part of a US$27 billion international financial lifeline to the country's economy reeling from the rebellion blamed by the West on neighboring Russia, an accusation Moscow denies.

"If any those key parameters changes, we will have to revisit the whole strategy because we're talking about a different situation," Lagarde said.

The first installment of the aid, worth US$3.19 billion, was disbursed in early May.

The Ukraine crisis has escalated since the bailout began, with the pro-Russia separatists advancing their control of eastern Ukraine — the industrial engine of the economy — and the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane over the area in mid-July.

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