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Trying to stem economic collapse, IMF offers Ukraine up to $18 billion in loans

Thursday - 3/27/2014, 8:50am  ET

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's prime minister is warning that his country is "on the brink of the economic and financial bankruptcy."

Arseniy Yatsenyuk (ahr-SEHN'-ee yaht-sehn-YOOK') made a lengthy and passionate address to parliament today, laying out details for fixes needed to put the country back on track, including raising taxes, a freeze on minimum wage and radically higher energy prices. He says Ukraine's economy could drop 10 percent this year unless urgent steps are taken.

Meanwhile, international help is taking shape. The International Monetary Fund is promising to loan between $14 billion and $18 billion to Ukraine. The IMF says the country's recent economic policies have drastically slowed growth and brought foreign currency reserves to a "critically low level."

And in Washington, the House and Senate are set to pass versions of a bill that would provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine as well as sanctions against Russia.

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APPHOTO XSC101: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, speaks to lawmakers during a session at the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, March. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov) (27 Mar 2014)

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APPHOTO XSC102: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, speaks to lawmakers during a session at the Ukrainian parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, March. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov) (27 Mar 2014)

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