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To Ukraine, IMF Enables $1.39B More, No Word On Lagarde Probe

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 29 -- The International Monetary Fund press office on the morning of August 29 announced

IMF Completes First Review Under Stand-By Arrangement for Ukraine and Approves US$1.39 Billion Disbursement
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the first review of Ukraine’s performance under an economic program supported by a Stand-By Arrangement (SBA). The completion of this review enables the disbursement of SDR 914.67 million (about US$1.39 billion), which would bring total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 2.97 billion (about US$4.51 billion).

Ukraine’s two-year SDR 10.97 billion (about US$16.67 billion) SBA was approved on April 30, 2014 (see Press Release No. 14/189) to support the government’s economic program, which aims to restore macroeconomic stability, strengthen economic governance and transparency, and launch sound and sustainable economic growth while protecting the vulnerable groups.

  Update: now the full longer press release is online here. But how do events on the ground, military and otherwise, impact this?

 When the UN Security Council held an open meeting on Ukraine on August 28, the first speaker was UN (and former US) official Jeffrey Feltman.

  Feltman said, "“the southward spread of fighting, along with border with the Russian Federation and the Sea of Avoz, marks a dangerous escalation in the conflict. The battle for Lugansk continues, and hostilities in Donetsk in several key strategic areas have been spreading.”

  US Ambassador Samantha Power said the question now is what to do to Russia to make it listen. She said Ukraine is one of a dozen countries with borders with Russia and that this will be a precedent.

  Argentina's Permanent Representative María Cristina Perceval, nuanced, said she wished the Security Council could have brought the parties to some agreement, at least one some issues.

  Nigeria's Permanent Representative Joy Ogwu said among other things that the government of Ukraine must accommodate the interests of all of its citizens.

  China's deputy called for a prompt ceasefire, citing the “legitimate rights interests and aspirations of all regions and ethnic groups.”

  Russia's Vitaly Churkin said that the escalation is a result of Kyiv declaring war on its own people, that Petro Poroshenko's peace plan was predicated on capitulation of the rebels. He said Ukraine armed forces have been shelling civilian quarters, using phosphorus.

 Significantly, Churkin said that no one is hiding that there are volunteers in Ukraine (alternative translation: everybody knows there are Russian volunteers in the East of Ukreaine) - but asked the US now to be equally transparent and explain staff in Ukrainian Security Council building.

  Churkin proposed that UNSC members agree to a press statement, “calling for unconditional ceasefire,” aid to Donetsk and Lugansk - that they vote on it immediately, at the table.

   The UK's Mark Lyall Grant cites the weapons holdings of the separatists, mentioned NATO intelligence, but did not respond to Churkin's request for a vote.

  Lithuania suggested that no vote be taken, as the statement did not say the separatists block aid, and mentioned other amendment. No vote was taken.

 Ukraine's deputy Oleksandr Pavlichenko used the word invasion, and said Russia has, near the border, 192 military aircraft and 137 helicopters.

  Churkin asked Pavlichenko two questions: why hasn't Ukraine given the air traffic control tapes of MH17 to the Dutch or made them public? And didn't Ukraine understanding that a ceasefire only for capitulation would never fly?

  Pavlichenko spoke again but did not answer. He said Ukraine is active in the investigation - but what about the tapes? On the demand for capitulation, he did not answer...


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