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World

Ukraine leader 'confident' IMF will unblock aid in 2021

  • Zelensky said he was "confident" Ukraine will receive the funds by the end of 2021, but did not specify the amount of money he expected to get.
22 Feb 2021

KIEV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday he is "confident" the International Monetary Fund will unblock aid to his country this year, despite admitting to disagreements in talks with the lender.

The IMF last June approved a $5 billion (4.13 billion euros) line of credit with an immediate payment of $2.1 billion (1.73 billion euros) to help the ex-Soviet country fight the coronavirus pandemic.

But four other tranches that were scheduled in 2020 and in 2021 have not been disbursed to one of Europe's poorest countries due to the slow pace of reforms.

"We are counting on this money," Zelensky told reporters Monday.

Experts say it is crucial for Kiev to obtain an IMF decision in its favour before September, when the country of 40 million is due to make significant payments to cover its debt.

Zelensky said he was "confident" Ukraine will receive the funds by the end of 2021, but did not specify the amount of money he expected to get.

He added that Ukraine's relations with the IMF were "normal", but added that he disagreed with some of the lender's demands, including those concerning judicial reform.

Ukraine's constitutional court was at the centre of a political scandal in October when it ruled to soften a number of anti-corruption laws.

The IMF said this month it wanted deeper reforms and stronger anti-corruption measures, including restoring the softened laws, before it would extend a second tranche of aid to Ukraine.