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World Bank approves $723 mln in loans, grants for Ukraine

A participant stands near a logo of World Bank at the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018. REUTERS/Johannes P. Christo

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WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) – The World Bank said its executive board on Monday approved a $723 million package of loans and grants for Ukraine, providing desperately needed government budget support as the country battles a Russian invasion.

The package includes a $350 million loan supplement to a prior World Bank loan, augmented by about $139 million through guarantees from the Netherlands and Sweden, the bank said in a statement.

It also includes $134 million in grants from Britain, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland as part of a trust fund that will continue to take in grant contributions on Ukraine’s behalf. Japan is providing parallel financing of $100 million.

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A World Bank spokesperson said the funds are expected to be transferred to Ukraine’s government in the next few days.

The World Bank’s budget support loans typically do not carry restrictions on how the funds can be spent, but the bank said the “fast-disbursing” support will help Ukraine’s government provide critical services, pay hospital workers, fund pensions and continue social programs.

“The World Bank Group is taking quick action to support Ukraine and its people in the face of the violence and extreme disruption caused by the Russian invasion,” World Bank President David Malpass said in a statement. “The World Bank Group stands with the people of Ukraine and the region. This is the first of many steps we are taking to help address the far-reaching human and economic impacts of this crisis.”

The bank said it was continuing to work on another $3 billion package of support for Ukraine in coming months and additional support for neighboring countries that are taking in Ukrainian refugees, now exceeding 1.7 million, mostly women, children and the elderly.

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Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Kim Coghill and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.