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Obama hails IMF aid for Ukraine as 'major step forward'

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk delivers a speech to the Ukrainian Parliament in Kiev on March 27, 2013US President Barack Obama on Thursday welcomed the IMF’s promise to Ukraine of a bailout package worth up to $18 billion as “a major step forward” for the country. “This significant support will help stabilise the economy and meet the needs of Ukrainian people over the long term because it provides the prospect for true growth,” Obama said at a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. But it also appears to herald a fundamental shift in Kiev away from a reliance on Russian help to save a crumbling system and to a commitment to the types of free-market efficiencies that could one day bring Ukraine far closer to the West. But he insisted he believed that the Ukrainian people had shown that they were tired with “the same corrupt practices, an economy that was completely inefficient” by ousting former president Viktor Yanukovych.

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