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EUROPEAN COMMISSION DISBURSES EUR 250 MLN ASSISTANCE TO UKRAINE

KYIV. April 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The European Commission has disbursed a loan of EUR 250 million to Ukraine, which is the last disbursement under the first macro-financial assistance (MFA) for Ukraine, which totals EUR 610 million and was approved in 2014.

“Our assistance helps to address Ukraine’s urgent financing needs and will underpin its structural reform agenda. These reforms are essential in order to stabilize the Ukrainian economy and create the conditions for sustainable growth for all Ukrainians,” the European Commission’s press service quoted European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici as saying.

The European Commission raised the funding for this tranche disbursement on financial markets by a private placement on April 14, 2015. This was achieved through the issue of a EUR 260 million amortizing bond with a final maturity of 15 years, a 10-year grace period and a yield of 0.519%. Of these funds, EUR 250 million was lent on to Ukraine on Tuesday on effectively the same terms, offering a long maturity at a very attractive interest rate, the European Commission said.

Prior to today’s payment, the commission had made two disbursements under this first MFA operation: EUR 100 million on May 20, 2014 and EUR 260 million on November 12, 2014.

The second MFA program for Ukraine, which totals EUR 1 billion, was also disbursed in 2014: a first disbursement of EUR 500 million took place on June 17, 2014, and the second tranche was paid on December 3, 2014.

A third MFA program worth EUR 1.8 billion was approved by the European Parliament and the Council on April 15, 2015. It will be implemented as soon as agreement has been reached between the EU and Ukraine on a Memorandum of Understanding specifying the policy programme accompanying the assistance. The Commission aims to be able to make the first disbursement of this new MFA operation around mid-2015.

RADA RATIFIES AGREEMENT ON EIB’S EUR 200 MLN LOAN WITH UKRAINE

KYIV. April 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has ratified a loan agreement between Ukraine and the European Investment Bank (EIB) on lending EUR 200 million to Ukraine under the Early Recovery Framework Loan (Ukraine) programme.

A total of 263 MPs voted for the ratification on Wednesday.

A draft bill on the ratification of the agreement was tabled by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in parliament on April 10.

As reported, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk and EIB Vice President Laszlo Baranyay on December 22, 2014 signed an agreement on lending EUR 200 million to Ukraine under the Early Recovery Framework Loan (Ukraine) programme.

The EIB board approved the project on December 16, while the Ukrainian government endorsed it on December 19.

The objective of the loan, which is raised by the Ukrainian government, is to address short-term needs in affected areas controlled by the government of Ukraine, and basic infrastructure needs to shelter internally displaced people in other regions of Ukraine, the EIB said.

EU-UKRAINE ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT FULLY RATIFIED BY 14 STATES – FOREIGN MINISTRY

KYIV. April 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU has been fully ratified by 14 states, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Yevhen Perebyinis has said.

At a briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday, he named these countries: Bulgaria, Great Britain, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Sweden.

The agreement was ratified by the parliaments and submitted to head of state for signature in Luxembourg, Finland and Spain. In Germany, Czech Republic and the Netherlands the agreement was ratified by one of the houses of parliament. In Austria, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, Slovenia and France the preparations for the ratification continue.

“We are grateful to those states which have ratified the agreement, and hope that the rest of the EU member states will speed up the ratification of the agreement in order to complete the entire process in 2015,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

NEITHER POSTPONEMENT NOR REVIEW OF UKRAINE-EU FREE TRADE AREA AGREEMENT ON AGENDA – TOMBINSKI

KYIV. April 22 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The European Union isn’t considering any further postponement or review of the implementation of a deep and comprehensive free trade area agreement with Ukraine (DCFTA), Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombinski has said.

Speaking to Interfax-Ukraine on the results of trilateral talks between Ukraine, the EU and Russia, he said that the European Commission is ready to consider Russia’s concerns in detail and try to find a solution regarding these aspects within the framework of the flexible, deep and comprehensive free trade area agreement. However, neither the further postponement of the implementation of the DCFTA nor the review of the DCFTA agreement is on the agenda, he said.

The trilateral technical negotiations were held over the past two days, Tombinski said. The purpose of the negotiations was to discuss answers to Russian concerns about the DCFTA, which was part of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. The sides presented their viewpoints and reached an understanding on some issues, he said, adding that certain matters were referred to the political level.

Tombinski said that the European Commission views tripartite negotiations as a form of EU support of the Minsk agreements. The European Commission has always said that it is prepared to do the utmost, including providing political support for the trilateral process, to accelerate the resolution of the Ukrainian conflict, he said.

U.S. READY TO GRANT $1 BLN LOAN GUARANTEES TO UKRAINE – POROSHENKO-BIDEN PHONE CALL

KYIV. April 21 (Interfax) – U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden assured Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko in a recent phone call that the United States is ready to extend $1 billion worth of loan guarantees and additional non-lethal military assistance to Kyiv, the Ukrainian presidential press service has reported.

“Vice President Biden informed [Poroshenko] that the United States is ready to provide Ukraine with loan guarantees amounting to $1 billion as part of the financial support package in 2015. He also announced the funding of projects to send humanitarian aid to displaced persons and people affected by the war in Donbas,” the press service said.

“The parties also discussed further actions in the sphere of defense, including plans to extend additional assistance to Ukraine,” he said.

During the phone call, Poroshenko thanked Biden for Washington’s decision to send U.S. soldiers to Ukraine to take part in the Fearless Guardian 2015 joint drills on Ukrainian soil.

“It is a new and important page that has already proven the strategic level of partnership between Ukraine and the U.S.,” the Ukrainian president said.

INTERAGENCY WORKING GROUP PROPOSES IMPROVING SANCTION TOOL FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

KYIV. April 21 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The interagency working group on coordinating the return of laundered money to Ukraine has prepared proposals on amending certain relevant Ukrainian laws, the press service of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) has reported.

“The working group headed by Deputy Prosecutor General Vitaliy Kasko continues operating and the ways of returning funds illegally withdrawn by former high-ranking officials [hiding] outside Ukraine are being discussed at the interagency level,” reads a PGO report which was published on Monday.

Proposals to amend Ukrainian laws aimed at improving the mechanism on applying sanctions for the violation of the procedure on placing currency assets outside Ukraine have been prepared by the working group.

“The amendments aim at increasing payments to the Ukrainian national budget at the expense of those who violate the established rules of currency regulation and try to hide funds abroad,” the PGO said.