WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Friday announced a disbursement of 1.4 billion U.S. dollars to crisis-torn Ukraine, but warned that the program remains highly challenging and continues to hinge on the development of the conflict.
The new funding was approved after the IMF's Executive Board, its decision-making body, completed the first review of Ukraine's performance under an economic program. That brings the total disbursements to about 4.51 billion U.S. dollars.
"Overall, economic policies have generally been implemented as agreed in the program, as the Ukrainian authorities have persisted in taking difficult measures despite the volatile political situation," the world lender said in a statement.
"However, the conflict in the eastern part of the country is taking its toll on the economy and society, and compensatory measures will be critical to achieve key program targets agreed for 2014 and beyond," noted the statement.
It stressed that the program "remains highly challenging and continues to hinge crucially on the assumption that the conflict will subside in the coming months."
In April, the IMF approved 16.67 billion U.S. dollars of credit line as part of a 27-billion-dollars international rescue package to support the Ukrainian 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.
"The Ukrainian authorities have firmly implemented policies to stabilize the economy and revive growth. This strong policy record despite the much worse-than-expected environment is encouraging in light of the implementation problems that derailed previous programs and thus augurs well for the authorities' ability to keep the program on track," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement on Friday.
"However, the escalating conflict in the East and ongoing geopolitical tensions have weighed heavily on the economy and society, causing a deeper recession and deviations from program targets in the short term, in particular on the central bank's net international reserves and the budget and Naftogaz deficits," she added.
Lagarde underlined that the downside risks to the program remain very high, and that the program's success hinges on a timely resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, as well as on the authorities' strong policy performance and adherence to the planned reforms.
Ukraine received the first tranche of IMF funds in May and used it to boost its weak foreign exchange reserves and stabilize the macroeconomic and financial situation.
Ukrainian Finance Minister Alexandr Shlapak said earlier this month that his country was awaiting the second tranche to boost the state budget and stabilize the financial market.