The head of the International Monetary Fund gave high praise to Ukraine's economic performance while visiting the country on Sunday, the Associated Press reported. The country has been struggling to overcome massive contractions in its economy since since the violence and political upheaval that ousted its sitting government last year.
In Kiev, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde reportedly told Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko that she was impressed with his government's efforts, a good sign for those in the country hoping to qualify for the third bloc of a four-year $17.5 billion loan. The incoming money would total $1.7 billion, adding to the $6.7 billion the nation has already received from the IMF this year.
The AP reports that the IMF expects Ukraine's economy to contract by 9 percent this year, a marked improvement from a "horrendous" 17.6 percent contraction in the first quarter.
According to Peroshenko, the conflict costs Kiev $8 million a day, the Guardian reported. The latest ceasefire agreement between the primary combatants, Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in the east, has reportedly been upheld for more than a week.
"There has been no shooting on the front for a week," Poroshenko said on Saturday, Agence France-Presse reported. "This is the first week that the Minsk agreements are being implemented." He said that some soldiers continued to be killed by stepping on active landmines.
Ukraine is expected to carry out the IMF's to-do-list in order to receive the remainder of the loan: the government needs to slash social services and other benefits, fight corruption and cut spending in general to get its hands on the money, the Guardian reported earlier this year upon the announcement of the $17.5 billion deal. “It is an ambitious program, it is a tough program and it is not without risk,” Lagarde said in February, the Guardian reported. “But it is also a realistic program and its effective implementation, after consideration and approval by our executive board, can represent a turning point for Ukraine.”