U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke by telephone on March 14 with both calling on Russia and Russian-backed separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine to implement the Minsk ceasefire agreements.
In a statement, the White House said both leaders also welcomed the disbursement of the first tranche of a new International Monetary Fund bailout loan program for Ukraine.
The $5 billion tranche, received by Kyiv on March 13, is the first part of a four-year, $17.5 billion IMF package.
The IMF loan is designed to unlock other credits for Ukraine from other lenders, eventually allowing Kyiv to receive a total financial package worth some $40 billion.
Ukraine’s Finance Ministry says $2.2 billion of the initial loan tranche has been placed in government accounts while the rest has gone to Ukraine’s central bank to help stabilize the troubled national currency, the hryvnya.