Ukraine asks International Monetary Fund for new financial rescue program as economy worsens

The head of the International Monetary Fund says Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has asked for a new program of financial rescue loans.

Christine Lagarde met Poroshenko on Wednesday on the sidelines of an economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, and said in a statement that the Ukrainian leader had sought to replace the country's current $17 billion bailout package with a new one. Ukraine's economy and public finances have been devastated by the war in its eastern region, the slow pace of reforms, and a lack of foreign investment.

Lagarde said: "We will consult with the IMF Executive Board on the (Ukrainian) authorities' request."

The U.S. and European Union have in recent days pledged more money to Ukraine, but only on condition that Kiev enacts more of its promised economic reforms.