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Ukraine's Economy Contracted By 6.8 Percent In 2014

Ukraine's state statistics service has reported that the country's economy shrank by 6.8 percent in 2014, citing financial strains caused by fighting in the eastern part of the country.

The statistic service also revised its figures on March 20 for the fourth quarter of 2014, saying the economy contracted by 14.8 percent, not 15.2 percent as previously announced.

Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine has drained Kyiv's state coffers, as have sharply reduced commercial ties with Russia, its traditional trading partner.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which recently approved a new $17.5 billion financing package for Ukraine, has forecast that its economy will shrink by some 5.5 percent this year and return to growth in 2016.

The IMF warned that efforts to restore financial stability to Ukraine face "extremely high" risks from continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, where a shaky cease-fire has been in place since mid-February.

Based on reporting by Reuters