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IMF meeting on $1bn Ukraine tranche halted after trade blockade

Staff Writer |
The meeting on the IMF’s new loan to Ukraine has been postponed following Kiev’s decision to legalize a trade blockade on rebel-held parts of the country.

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The decision is expected to hurt Ukraine’s already ailing economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board was expected to discuss a new $1 billion tranche to Kiev on Monday, but the event has disappeared from the calendar.

The Ukrainian Finance Ministry said the meeting was pushed back “for a short period of time” to recalculate the economic effects of the ongoing trade row, which it blamed on the rebels.

The statement said Ukraine “took measures in response to the blockade and the alienation of the Ukrainian businesses in the territories not controlled” by Kiev.

On Thursday, the Ukrainian National Security Council decided to suspend trade dealings with rebel-controlled parts in the east of the country. The move follows actions of paramilitary groups of Ukrainian nationalists, who blocked railway transportation between the two parts of the country about two months ago.

The blockade was justified by the nationalists as a “patriotic measure” meant to stop “treacherous trade with the terrorists [a reference to rebels in eastern Ukraine].” Some Ukrainian MPs who won their seats following the armed coup in Kiev in 2014 supported the action.

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