IMF approves $17.5B loan program for Ukraine

The International Monetary Fund signed off on a $17.5 billion four-year loan program for Ukraine Wednesday, Reuters reported.

The move is the second attempt in less than a year to avoid bankruptcy in Ukraine.

A statement from IMF managing director Christine Lagarde did not have details on how large an initial payment will be made to Ukraine or on what timetable, Reuters reported.

Ukraine had expected to receive $5 billion in credit from IMF in the coming days, the country's finance minister said Wednesday -- the first in a series of bailout loans the government hopes will keep Ukraine from an economic meltdown.

Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko's office said the funds would be issued once the IMF had made a decision on the loan.

Credit to Ukraine is being extended on condition the government in Kiev implements deep structural reforms and slashes government spending.

Ukraine's economy, already hamstrung by crippling bureaucracy and corruption, has been further burdened over the past year by a war in the east with Russian-backed separatists. In an interview with The Associated Press last month, the U.S.-born Jaresko estimated the conflict had consumed about 20 percent of the country's economy.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed off Tuesday on a raft of legislative measures to drastically reduce government spending and also approved changes to the tax system.

"This fully carries out Ukraine's side of the agreements that were reflected in a memorandum with the IMF," Poroshenko said Wednesday at a joint press conference in Kiev with the prime minister of Sweden.

Poroshenko said a positive decision by the IMF would open the way to more economic support, including from the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Ukraine has already received a promise of $2 billion worth of credit from the United States and 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in economic assistance from the European Union.

Sweden has committed to giving 175 million euros ($185 million) in interest-free loans over a seven-year period, Poroshenko said at the press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

Poroshenko said the overall assistance package being formed to see Ukraine through its economic crisis now exceeds $40 billion.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.