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Sweden to Give Ukraine $100 Million No-Interest Loan

Kiev:

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today thanked the Swedish government for a $100 million loan for Kiev’s cash-strapped economy, one piece of a multi billion dollar package the country needs to avoid collapse.

“The government of Sweden has taken the decision to provide a $100 million loan to Ukraine,” Poroshenko said in a joint press conference with Swedish premier Stefan Loefven who is on a visit to the Ukrainian capital.

“The Swedish government is taking care of the interest on this loan themselves,” Poroshenko said, thanking Loefven for the decision and calling Sweden “a true friend of Ukraine” though without immediately clarifying the details of the loan.

Ukraine’s international partners are expected to put together an aid package worth around $40 billion over four years.

The cornerstone of that would be an IMF bailout of $17.5 billion over the next four years, with the IMF expected to make a decision later Wednesday over the funding.

Poroshenko voiced confidence in a positive outcome.

“I am sure that today there will be a positive decision (on the IMF loan),” Poroshenko said. “Today it will be a historical decision.”

Analysts have said Ukraine has but a few months before its economy collapses, making the loan a crucial lifeline. Kiev says it has met all the requirements to qualify for the bailout by pushing through a package of draconian reforms in recent weeks which included tripling the price of gas for households.

The austerity measures come on top of an already crippled economic base where a lot of the country’s industrial core in the east has either stopped working or was physically destroyed in the fighting with pro-Russia separatists.

Last week Ukraine’s central bank considerably hiked its base interest rate to 30 percent to stem further depreciation of a plummeting hryvnia and combat inflation.

“When I am asked how much financial assistance I expect, I say — the more the better,” said Poroshenko. “The total package being put together to help Ukraine… should be over $40 billion today.”

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Greece taps public sector cash to help cover March needs

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Greece taps public sector cash to help cover March needs
Greece is tapping into the cash reserves of pension funds and public sector entities through repo transactions as it scrambles to cover its funding needs this month, debt officials told Reuters on Tuesday.Shut out of debt markets and with aid from lenders frozen, Athens is in danger of running out of cash in the coming weeks as it faces a 1.5 billion euro loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund this month.The government has sought to calm fears and says it will be able to make the IMF payment and others, but not said how.At least part of the states cash needs for the month will be met by repo transactions in which pension funds and other state entities sitting on cash lend the money to the countrys debt agency through a short-term repurchase agreement for up to 15 days, debt agency officials told Reuters.However, one government official said they could not be used to repay the IMF unless Athens was able to repay the state entities the cash it borrowed from them.Debt officials sought to play the repos as advantageous for both sides, arguing that the funds get a better return on their cash than what is available in the interbank market.”It is not something new, its a tactic that started more than a year ago and is a win-win solution. Its a proposal, we are not twisting anyones arm,” one official said.In such repo transactions, a pension fund or government entity parks cash it does not immediately need at an account at the Bank of Greece, which becomes the counterparty in the deal with the debt agency.The money is lent to the debt agency for one to 15 days against collateral – mostly Greek treasury paper held in its portfolio – and is paid back with interest at expiry.The lender can always opt to roll over the repurchase agreement and continue to earn a higher return than what is available in the interbank market.One source familiar with the matter has previously said Athens could raise up to 3 billion euros through such repos, but that it was not clear how much of that had already been used up by the government.”There is a sum that has already been raised this way,” the debt official said without disclosing specific numbers.Athens – which has monthly needs of about 4.5 billion euros including a wage and pension bill of 1.5 billion euros – is running out of options to fund itself despite striking a deal with the euro zone to extend its bailout by four months.Faced with a steep fall in revenues, it is expected to run out of cash by the end of March, possibly sooner, though the government is trying to assure creditors it will not default.”We are confident that the repayments will be made in full, particularly to the IMF, and there will be liquidity to get us through the end of the four-month period,” Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said during a late-night talk show on Greek TV on Monday. “March is sorted.” [Reuters]
[…]

Greece sends EU reform list, more hurdles before early cash

By Renee Maltezou and Jan Strupczewski

ATHENS/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Greece sent its euro zone partners an augmented list of proposed reforms on Friday but EU officials said several more steps were required before any release of aid funds to a country that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras says has a noose around its neck.

Struggling to scrape together cash and avoid possible default, Athens made a 310 million euro partial loan repayment to the International Monetary Fund, while Tsipras pleaded to be allowed to issue more short-term debt to plug a funding gap.

Greece is running out of options to fund itself despite striking a deal with the euro zone in February to extend its EU/IMF bailout by four months.

European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has refused to raise a limit on Athens’ issuance of three-month treasury bills which Greek banks buy with emergency central bank funds. He said on Thursday the EU treaty prohibited indirect monetary financing of governments.

“The ECB has still got a rope around our neck,” the leftist Greek premier complained in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel released on Friday. If the ECB continued to object, it would be assuming a grave responsibility, he said.

“Then it would be back to the thriller we saw before Feb. 20,” Tsipras said, referring to the date when Greece agreed a four-month extension of its bailout with euro zone partners after market jitters ignited by political uncertainty.

In a letter to the 19-nation Eurogroup, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis outlined plans to fight tax evasion, activate a “fiscal council” to generate budget savings and update licensing of gaming and lotteries to boost state revenues, a Greek official said.

However, the expanded list of reforms arrived too late for deputy finance ministers and European Commission experts who met on Thursday to scrutinise it before a regular meeting of finance ministers of the currency area next Monday.

“Whatever proposals emerge (from Varoufakis), they can’t be seen in isolation,” said a senior EU official, who declined to be named due to the sensitive nature of the talks. “They have to been seen in the overall context of all policy measures … There is no connection with the disbursements.”

One key condition for Greece to receive any more euro zone money is for Athens to reach an agreement with its three international creditors – the euro zone, the ECB and the IMF – on the implementation of reforms agreed by the previous government. Such talks have not even begun yet.

“FEWER WORDS, MORE DEEDS”

Greece must repay a total of 1.5 billion euros to the IMF over the next two weeks against a backdrop of dwindling tax revenues, frozen bailout funds and economic stagnation. Three other instalments are due on March 13, 16 and 20.

In an apparent recognition that outspoken public statements that the country is broke and will not repay its debts and attacks on other euro zone governments have damaged Greece’s position, Tsipras said he had asked his cabinet – including Varoufakis – for “fewer words and more deeds”.

Many EU partners have been exasperated by a torrent of rhetoric from Athens since Tsipras’ hard-left Syriza party won a parliamentary election on Jan. 25 and formed a coalition with the right-wing nationalist Independent Greeks party.

Greece has monthly needs of about 4.5 billion euros, including a wage and pension bill of 1.5 billion euros. It is not due to receive any financial aid until it completes a review by lenders of final reforms required under its bailout.

Greek central bank chief Yannis Stournaras said after talks with Tsipras on Friday that Greek banks were sufficiently capitalised and faced no problem with deposit outflows.

“There is full support for Greek banks (from the ECB), there is absolutely no danger,” he said after the meeting. But he added Monday’s euro zone meeting had to be “successful”.

Athens has begun tapping cash held by pension funds and other entities to avoid running out of funds as early as this month. Various short-term options it has suggested to overcome the cash crunch have been blocked by euro zone lenders to pressure the Tsipras government into enacting reforms.

A German Finance Ministry spokesman said on Friday that Berlin saw no basis for Greece to get the next 1.5 billion euro tranche of its bailout immediately, but if Athens implemented its reforms sooner than expected, it could get paid early.

“If the Greek programme is in a position to work out its list of reforms in detail earlier than the end of April and the troika agrees to it and if this programme is, accordingly, implemented earlier, it would of course be possible to make a payment earlier,” spokesman Martin Jaeger told reporters.

(Additional reporting by Stephen Brown in Berlin, Lefteris Papadimas and George Georgiopoulos in Athens and Robin Emmott in Brussels; Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Politics & GovernmentBudget, Tax & Economy […]

Cash-strapped Greece repays first part of IMF loan due in March

By George Georgiopoulos and Lefteris Papadimas

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece repaid on Friday the first 310 million euro instalment of a loan from the International Monetary Fund that falls due this month as it scrambles to cover its funding needs amid a cash crunch.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ newly elected government must pay a total of 1.5 billion euros to the IMF this month over two weeks starting on Friday against a backdrop of fast-depleting cash coffers.

“The payment of 310 million euros has been made, with a Friday value date,” a government official told Reuters, requesting anonymity.

Athens has to pay three other instalments, on March 13, 16 and 20 as part of repayments due to the IMF this month.

Tsipras’ government has said it will make the payments but there has been growing uncertainty over Greece’s cash position as it faces a steep fall in tax revenues while aid from EU/IMF lenders remains on hold until Athens completes promised reforms.

Athens sent an updated list of reforms on Friday to Brussels ahead of a meeting of euro zone finance ministers on Monday, a Greek government official said, adding that the list expanded on an earlier set of proposals.

The list includes measures to fight tax evasion and red tape and facilitate repayment of tax and pension fund arrears owed by millions of Greeks, the official said. It also proposes a “fiscal council” to generate savings for the state.

Athens is running out of options to fund itself despite striking a deal with the euro zone in February to extend its EU/IMF bailout by four months.

Greece has monthly needs of about 4.5 billion euros, including a wage and pension bill of 1.5 billion euros. It is not due to receive any financial aid until it completes a review by lenders of final reforms required under its bailout.

Greece’s central bank chief, Yannis Stournaras, said after talks with Tsipras on Friday that Greek banks were sufficiently capitalised and faced no problem with deposit outflows.

“There is full support for Greek banks (from the ECB), there is absolutely no danger,” he said after the meeting. But he added Monday’s euro zone meeting had to be “successful”.

The ECB will resume normal lending to Greek banks only when it sees Athens is complying with its bailout programme and is on track to receive a favourable review, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Thursday.

Athens has begun tapping cash held by pension funds and other entities to avoid running out of funds as early as this month. Various short-term options it has suggested to overcome the cash crunch have been blocked by euro zone lenders.

Tsipras’ leftist Syriza was elected on Jan. 25 on a promise to end the belt-tightening that came with the EU/IMF bailouts.

(Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Politics & GovernmentBudget, Tax & EconomyInternational Monetary Fund […]

Exclusive – Greece to run out of cash by end-March without new aid -source

REUTERS – Greece is burning through its cash reserves and will not be able to meet payment obligations beyond the end of March at the latest unless it secures additional funds from its creditors, a person familiar with the figures told Reuters on Wednesday.

Athens is locked in a battle with euro zone partners over the future of its bailout programme, which is due to expire in 10 days. Failure to clinch a deal would leave it at risk of bankruptcy, though until now it had not been clear how much time Athens had until state coffers run dry.

Greece will be able to repay a 1.5 billion euro loan from the International Monetary Fund that falls due in mid-March, but the state will struggle to make payments after that despite continuing efforts to minimize cash needs, the person said.

“Greece can cover its needs until mid-March or the latest by the end of March unless it secures additional funding from official lenders,” the person told Reuters.

Athens has repeatedly asked its euro zone partners to be allowed to issue more Treasury bills beyond an existing 15 billion euro ceiling that it has already hit but its request has been denied.

Adding to the pressure, budget data for January showed the state’s finances worsening sharply as Greeks held off on paying taxes ahead of the Jan. 25 general election. That resulted in a 1 billion euro shortfall in tax revenues, 23 percent below the targeted level, putting the country’s bailout target of a 3 percent budget surplus this year in doubt.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras leftist-led government has sought to play down cashflow concerns, with ministers saying the state has enough money on hand and refusing to speculate on when it might run out.

Asked at a news conference on Wednesday about the state’s cash reserves, Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas said: “We are trying to pay our obligations all the time, I don’t have anything else to tell you.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the conservative daily Kathimerini said cashflow projections showed government coffers would start to run dry as early as Feb. 24.

After the March IMF repayment, Athens faces 800 million euros in interest payments in April followed by a major financing hump in the summer, when it has to repay about 8 billion euros to official lenders including 6.5 billion euros to the ECB for maturing bonds.

In addition, Athens also faces a monthly bill of 1.5 billion euros for public sector salaries and pensions, and an additional 1 billion euros a month for social security and healthcare costs.

Shut out of capital markets in 2010, Greece has survived over the past four and a half years on a continued stream of over 240 billion euros in aid from the European Union and IMF.

It broke its four-year exile from bond markets in April last year amid signs that the worst of its debt crisis was over, but the return was short-lived as bond yields rose to unsustainable levels in the autumn when political tensions rose.

(Editing by Paul Taylor and John Stonestreet)

Politics & GovernmentBudget, Tax & EconomyInternational Monetary FundAthens […]

Greece 'will run out of cash by end of March'

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Greece is burning through its cash reserves and will not be able to meet payment obligations beyond the end of March unless it secures additional funds from its creditors, according to a Reuters report.

The country remains locked in a battle with euro zone partners over the future of its bailout programme, which is due to expire in 10 days.

Failure to clinch a deal would leave it at risk of bankruptcy, though until now it had not been clear how much time Greece had until state coffers run dry.

CLOSE X RELATED AUDIO & VIDEO Watch: Greece seeking a six month extension to loan agreement Listen: Will Greece seek a loan extension today? MORE RELATED CLIPS +

It will submit a request to the euro zone tomorrow to extend a “loan agreement” for up to six months but EU paymaster Germany says no such deal is on offer and Greece must stick to the terms of its existing international bailout.

The move, confirmed by an official spokesman, is an attempt by the new leftist-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to keep a financial lifeline for an interim period while sidestepping tough austerity conditions in the EU/IMF programme.

An EU source said whether euro zone finance ministers, who rejected such ideas at a meeting on Monday, accept the request as a basis to resume negotiations will depend on how it is formulated.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble poured scorn on the Greek gambit, saying: “It’s not about extending a credit programme but about whether this bailout programme will be fulfilled, yes or no.”

With the current bailout deal with the euro zone due to expire on 28 February, Mr Tsipras said talks were at a crucial stage and his demands for an end to austerity were winning support.

“There were protests across Europe supporting the moves made by Greece.

“We have managed for the first time through contacts with foreign leaders to create a positive stance on our requests,” he said at a televised meeting with President Karolos Papoulias.

EU officials said intensive consultations were under way between Greece, the Eurogroup of finance ministers and the European Commission, with Italy and France also involved in the search for a compromise.

Greece will be able to repay a €1.5bn loan from the IMF that falls due in mid-March, but the state will struggle to make payments after that despite continuing efforts to minimize cash needs, a Reuters source said.

“Greece can cover its needs until mid-March or the latest by the end of March unless it secures additional funding from official lenders,” the source told Reuters.

The Greeks have repeatedly asked their euro zone partners to be allowed to issue more Treasury bills beyond an existing €15bn ceiling that it has already hit but its request has been denied.

Adding to the pressure, budget data for January showed the state’s finances worsening sharply as Greeks held off on paying taxes ahead of the 25 January general election.

That resulted in a €1bn shortfall in tax revenues, 23% below the targeted level, putting the country’s bailout target of a 3% budget surplus this year in doubt.

Mr Tsipras’ government has sought to play down cashflow concerns, with ministers saying the state has enough money on hand and refusing to speculate on when it might run out.

Asked at a news conference today about the state’s cash reserves, Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas said: “We are trying to pay our obligations all the time, I don’t have anything else to tell you.”

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned Greece to move quickly to reach a deal with creditors on its bailout to avoid further economic difficulties.

In a call with Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, the US Treasury said Mr Lew “noted that failure to reach an agreement would lead to immediate hardship in Greece, that the uncertainty is not good for Europe, and that time is of the essence”.

He “urged Greece to find a constructive path forward in partnership with Europe and the IMF to build on the foundation that exists to advance growth and reform,” the Treasury said.

Earlier, the conservative daily Kathimerini said cashflow projections showed government coffers would start to run dry as early as next Tuesday.

After the March IMF repayment, Greece faces €800m in interest payments in April followed by a major financing hump in the summer, when it has to repay about €8bn to official lenders including €6.5bn to the ECB for maturing bonds.

In addition, Greece also faces a monthly bill of €1.5bn for public sector salaries and pensions, and an additional €1bn a month for social security and healthcare costs.

Shut out of capital markets in 2010, Greece has survived over the past four and a half years on a continued stream of over €240bn in aid from the European Union and IMF.

It broke its four-year exile from bond markets in April last year amid signs that the worst of its debt crisis was over, but the return was short-lived as bond yields rose to unsustainable levels in the autumn when political tensions rose.

Greece’s government today offered debt forgiveness to thousands of individuals and companies that owe the state money, hoping to secure a fraction of arrears.

Junior finance minister Nadia Valavani said debtors offering to pay a minimum of €200 upfront could see a haircut of up to 50% on the rest of their debt.

Ms Valavani told a news conference that debts to the Greek state had ballooned to €76bn in unpaid taxes and social insurance contributions.

But realistically, just €9bn from that total can be recovered, she added.

[…]

Cash-strapped Ukraine expects IMF loan decision by late Jan

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine expects the International Monetary Fund to reach a decision on the disbursement of its next multi-billion dollar instalment of financial aid by late January, a senior presidential official said on Wednesday.

Ukraine has so far received two tranches of aid under the IMF programme worth a combined $4.6 billion, under a $17 billion (11 billion) bailout package agreed in April to shore up its foreign currency reserves and support the economy.

The third payment was delayed as the IMF waited for the formation of a new government, which has pledged to carry out the extensive reforms required under the bailout.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Valeriy Chaly said an IMF mission would visit Kiev in early January for the next round of talks on the loan programme, which the country has asked to have increased.

“We expect that all the decisions on macro-financial help will be reached by the last 10 days of January,” Chaly said in a televised briefing.

Ukraine’s foreign currency reserves have more than halved since the start of the year to a 10-year low due to gas debt repayments to Russia and efforts to support its struggling currency, the hryvnia.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said Kiev, facing the additional financial burden of the rebellion in its eastern territories, risks defaulting unless Western donors come up with more funds in addition to what has already been pledged.

First deputy finance minister Ihor Umansky said on Wednesday that it was too soon to talk of restructuring the country’s debt.

“The question of restructuring … is not currently a subject of discussions,” he said at a briefing. “Until the aid package is agreed for Ukraine, it’s too early to discuss this.”

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Politics & GovernmentBudget, Tax & EconomyInternational Monetary FundUkraineforeign currency reserves […]

Govt to use cash to pay E18bn IMF loan


Govt to use cash to pay E18bn IMF loan

Monday, September 15 15:56:54

The Government will likely use cash reserves to repay some of around E18 billion of loans to the International Monetary Fund in a bid to cut its interest bill, Minister Brendan Howlin said today.

The Government has received support from the International Monetary Fund and euro zone partners about a plan to repay the loans, which have higher interest rates than other parts of an international bailout it received in the wake of a 2010 banking and economic crisis.

Mr Howlin said the government expected to issue debt to the markets before the end of the year to repay some of the IMF debt, but that some of it may be paid off from cash balances built up as a buffer during the country’s financial crisis.

The country had E18.5 billion of cash at the start of the year.

“We have a very large cash reserve… So certainly some of that cash would be used to retire debt in whatever form is most effective,” Howlin told Reuters on the sidelines of a Labour party conference.

“Whether it is simply used to pay back IMF money or another purpose. That is a matter for the minister for finance,” the minister added.

The head of the country’s debt agency said in July that Ireland was considering holding lower cash balances to cover their funding for 9-12 months as opposed to the 12 to 15 months worth it has held for the last two years.

Irish bond yields saw some early weakness on Monday as analysts anticipated the increase in borrowings from the market in the coming year to replace the IMF loans.

Howlin said that Dublin could reduce its budget deficit to “possibly a little less” than 4 percent this year. Finance Minister Michael Noonan said earlier this month that a sharp increase in the government’s tax take so far this year would cut the deficit to a better-than-expected 4 percent.

For more visit www.businessworld.ie.

[…]

IMF board approves $17 billion in assistance for Ukraine

WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund board on Wednesday approved a two-year, $17 billion loan package for cash-strapped Ukraine as it seeks to regain stability following Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The IMF assistance pledged in March was hinged on economic reforms in Ukraine, including 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.

“Urgent actions were necessary. Urgent decisions were taken by Ukraine and decisions now have just been taken by the IMF,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde told reporters at the monetary fund’s headquarters.

Ukraine’s interim government finds itself caught between the demands of international creditors and a restive population that has endured decades of economic stagnation, corruption and mismanagement.

The IMF’s decision to approve the $17 billion loan paves the way for Ukraine to receive $15 billion in additional assistance pledged by the World Bank, the European Union, Canada, Japan and other European entities, and $1 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. that Congress recently approved. As part of the deal, Ukraine will be required to use some of the $17 billion loan to repay money it already owes the monetary fund.

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.

“Today’s final approval for the $17 billion IMF program marks a crucial milestone for Ukraine,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement. “The IMF program, in conjunction with bilateral assistance from the United States and other nations, will enable Ukraine to build on the progress already achieved to overcome deep-seated economic challenges and help the country return to a path of economic stability and growth.”

Lagarde said there were risks to the IMF loan but that Ukraine had demonstrated during the past few weeks that it can undertake reforms, such as ones addressing its exchange rate and the price of natural gas. “We believe that Ukraine has an opportunity to seize the moment,” she said.

Asked about recent sanctions that the U.S. and European Union have imposed on Russia, Lagarde said only that the IMF was not designing sanctions, but was trying to improve the situation in Ukraine so that stability can be restored.

“We very strongly encourage the parties to negotiate to come to terms, and whether it’s a question of the future price of gas, the payment of arrears — we very much hope the partners will find an agreement,” she said.

[…]

Congress to pass aid Ukraine, sanction Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress was near passage Tuesday of a bill to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to cash-poor Ukraine and take punitive measures against Russia for its brazen annexation of part of the former Soviet satellite nation. Once passed by the House, it would be sent to President Barack Obama.

Russia’s incursion into Crimea has forged a deep rift between Moscow and Washington and the bill, which has bipartisan support, is a way for Congress to denounce Russia’s aggressive move and express support for Kiev.

If signed into law, the loan guarantees would help stabilize Ukraine’s economy. The bill authorizes $50 million to improve democratic governance and rule of law and fight corruption; support fair elections; and bolster civil society organizations.

The bill authorizes an additional $100 million to beef up security cooperation among the United States, European Union and countries in central and eastern Europe and further authorizes the president to provide defense help and additional security assistance to Ukraine and other countries in the region.

Targeting Russia, the bill would supplement sanctions the Obama administration has already taken by freezing assets and revoking visas of Russian officials and their associates who are complicit in or responsible for significant corruption in Ukraine. The measure also would sanction those who are responsible for human rights abuses against anti-government protesters and the undermining of the peace and sovereignty of Ukraine.

The U.S. has warned that further Russian incursions could result in broader penalties targeting the Russian economy, including its robust energy sector. But administration officials acknowledge that American sanctions wouldn’t have the same kind of bite as European penalties, given Europe’s deeper economic ties with Russia.

A separate bill expected to clear Congress would provide money to step up Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty broadcasts to counter pro-Russian broadcasts in the area. Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says Moscow is using propaganda to sow confusion and fear in the Ukraine.

Ukraine, a nation of 46 million people, has been struggling to regain stability since pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted in February. He was booted after months of protests sparked by his decision to back away from closer relations with the European Union and turn toward Russia.

Since then, Russia has moved thousands of troops to areas near the Ukrainian border, sparking fears in the U.S. and Europe that Putin could make a play for more territory.

In Kiev, Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has warned his country is on the brink of economic and financial bankruptcy. Ukraine’s Finance Ministry has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to avoid default.

The International Monetary Fund last week pledged up to $18 billion in loans, hinged on structural reforms. The reforms demanded by the IMF, which include raising taxes, freezing the minimum wage and hiking energy prices, will hit households hard and are likely to strain the interim government’s tenuous hold on power. Other donors, including the European Union and Japan, have already pledged further aid to Ukraine. The total amount of international assistance will be about $27 billion over the next two years.

Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who is now an analyst at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, said the Ukrainian economy is in deep trouble, and every $1 billion will help.

The IMF program, which will total $14 billion to $18 billion over two years, will be distributed in tranches as Ukraine implements reforms, he said. The IMF board still needs to approve the money, so ‘‘the U.S. loan guarantees will help Kiev bridge the time from now until the IMF funding begins to flow,’’ Pifer said.

Ariel Cohen, an expert on Russian and Eurasian affairs at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, said the $1 billion the U.S. is providing in loan guarantees, coupled with the IMF and EU pledges, is a start to help Ukraine.

‘‘But it doesn’t resolve the problem, which is that Ukraine does not generate enough growth and income to plug the budgetary holes created by energy dependence on Russia,’’ Cohen said.

On Tuesday, Moscow sharply hiked the price for natural gas to Ukraine and threatened to reclaim billions in previous discounts, raising the heat on its cash-strapped government.

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