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IMF Says Situation in Eastern Ukraine a Risk to Program

The International Monetary Fund said Ukraine’s potential loss of control over eastern territories is a risk to its $17-billion loan, as pro-Russian separatists vowed to press ahead with autonomy votes.

“The situation in the east is recognized by the IMF and in the staff report as a potential risk,” fund spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters in Washington. “In case it materializes, the program would in some ways need to be re-calibrated.”

Russia has massed about 40,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, according to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The government in Kiev and its U.S. and European allies accuse Russia of fomenting separatist unrest in eastern Ukraine and warn that President Vladimir Putin may follow his annexation of Crimea with another land grab against his neighbor.

Rice declined to comment on potential autonomy votes, saying that the government is committed to economic reforms and that the program “is moving ahead.”

Separately, Rice said the IMF board will be meet to discuss a disbursement to Greece “in the coming weeks.”

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