Ukraine eyes $15 billion programme after meeting IMF's Georgieva

IMF Managing Director Georgieva attends a meeting with Ukraine's President Zelenskiy in Kyiv

(Reuters) -Ukraine is hoping to clinch a multi-year support programme of at least $15 billion, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Monday after meeting the head of the International Monetary Fund.

IMF Director General Kristalina Georgieva arrived in Kyiv on the same day the city also hosted U.S. President Joe Biden, who offered support to Ukraine before the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of the country.

The talks between Georgieva and Ukrainian officials, shown in a video posted on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's Telegram account, took place three days after the IMF said it had reached a staff-level agreement with Ukraine, setting the stage for talks on a full loan programme.

"We have clinched success in carrying out a monitoring programme, including the implementation of all structural indicators," Shmyhal wrote on his Telegram account.

"We are looking for the launch of a new multi-year support programme valued at more than $15 billion."

Shmyhal said the programme would be made up of two parts - immediate financial assistance and support for structural reforms to underpin efforts at post-conflict rebuilding.

Ukraine hopes a full-fledged programme with the IMF will prompt other donors to step up. Kyiv needs to cover a budget deficit of $38 billion this year and has secured 18 billion euros ($19.3 billion) from the EU and $10 billion from the United States.

The IMF said last week that the agreement on the first and final review of a Program Monitoring with Board Involvement (PMB) was subject to Fund management approval and showed positive results.

Among benchmarks met were the government's submission to parliament of draft tax laws aimed at increasing revenues and steps by the finance ministry to address arrears, the IMF said.

The Fund said that Ukraine's economy contracted by 30% in 2022, shrinking less than initially forecast, while inflation has begun to decelerate. But the near-term economic outlook had deteriorated due to Russian attacks on critical infrastructure.

The video posted on Zelenskiy's account showed the president offering Georgieva thanks for support "from the first days of Russia's full-fledged invasion".

Georgieva, quoted by the president's website, said she was "extremely impressed that the government is already functioning well in such extraordinary circumstances of invasion".

The site said she also visited Irpin, a town outside Kyiv badly damaged during Russia's initial unsuccessful attempt to advance on the capital.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski; editing by Deepa Babington)