IMF approves US$1.4 billion in emergency funding for UkrainePeople gather at the main hall of the Central train station, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Warsaw, Poland on Mar 9, 2022. (Photo: Reuters/Kacper Pempel)

WASHINGTON— The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said its executive board on Wednesday (Mar 9) approved US$1.4 billion in emergency financing for Ukraine to help meet urgent spending needs and mitigate the economic impact of Russia’s military invasion.

The global lender said Ukrainian authorities had canceled an existing stand-by lending arrangement with the IMF, but would work with the fund to design an appropriate economic program focused on rehabilitation and growth when conditions permit.

“The Russian military invasion of Ukraine has been responsible for a massive humanitarian and economic crisis,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement after the meeting, predicting a deep recession in Ukraine this year.

“Financing needs are large, urgent, and could rise significantly as the war continues,” she said. Once the war was over, Ukraine was likely to need additional “large support.”

The IMF said the war had already resulted in very serious consequences, citing the flight of over 2 million people from the country in 13 days and large-scale destruction of key infrastructure.

Russia describes the assault as a “special military operation.”

The disbursement under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), equivalent to 50 per cent of Ukraine’s quota in the IMF, will help fund urgent spending needs in the short term, while helping to catalyze financing from other partners, the IMF said.

The RFI provides rapid funding to IMF member countries without the need for a full-fledged program. Members can tap the RFI repeatedly within any three-year period if the balance of payments need is caused by an exogenous shock, according to the IMF website.

It comes on top of US$700 million disbursed to Ukraine by the IMF in December, and US$2.7 billion in IMF Special Drawing Rights, or emergency reserves, that Ukraine received as part of an IMF allocation in August.

The World Bank’s executive board on Monday approved a US$723 million package of loans and grants for Ukraine.