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Biden, Poroshenko Speak By Phone About Ukraine's Conflict

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.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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