G7 raises Ukraine support to $39 billion for 2023, urges IMF programme by March

BENGALURU (Reuters) - The Group of Seven (G7) nations on Thursday raised economic support to Ukraine to $39 billion for this year and urged an IMF programme for the country by the end of March, according to a statement released by the bloc's current president Japan.

The decision came after a meeting of the bloc's finance ministers and central bank governors on the eve of the war's first anniversary. The conflict continues to rage despite sanctions by western nations meant to cripple Russia's financing of its "special military operation".

Ukraine is hoping to clinch a $15 billion programme with the International Monetary Fund that will cover immediate financial assistance and support for structural reforms to underpin efforts at post-conflict rebuilding.

"For 2023, based on the Government of Ukraine's needs, we have increased our commitment of budget and economic support to $39 billion," the statement said.

The G7 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States. The bloc's financial leaders have gathered in India's Bengaluru ahead of a meeting of financial chiefs of the Group of 20 (G20) nations.

Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki also told reporters that the G7 needs to assess the effectiveness of current sanctions on Russia before deciding on further action.

(Reporting by Shivangi Acharya, Aftab Ahmed and Kiyoshi Takenaka; Writing by Shivam Patel; Editing by Krishna N. Das and Christina Fincher)