People queue to receive humanitarian aid from the charitable foundation of Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, whose vast wealth is founded on the industrial output of Donetsk coal-rich region, in Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. Akhmetov is contentious figure in eastern Ukraine. Although a major provider of employment, he is regarded with profound suspicion by much of the impoverished local population. Still, his standing improves with every consignment of goods that reaches separatist-held regions. Amnesty International said it received reports before the New Year holidays of volunteer battalions fighting alongside Ukrainian government forces of preventing the Akhmetov convoys from getting through. The battalion justified their actions by arguing that the food and clothes in the trucks could ultimately help to support the separatist cause, Amnesty says. (AP Photo/ Mstyslav Chernov) (The Associated Press)
BRUSSELS – The United States has reinforced Western assistance for Ukraine by promising up to $2 billion in loan guarantees if that effort is matched by economic and political reforms in Kiev.
The U.S. State Department said Tuesday it intends to provide $1 billion in the first half of 2015 and an additional $1 billion in the second half, if progress continues.
The commitment to help stave off a financial crisis comes a week after the European Union pledged 1.8 billion euros ($2.1 billion) to strengthen the struggling nation's resilience as it faces war in the east.
EU President Donald Tusk said Tuesday that Ukraine could also expect more humanitarian aid to deal with the problems.
Tusk added the bloc "must stay the course" with sanctions against Russia at least until March.