This is a Wednesday, March 5, 2014 file photo of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko as she poses for a photo during an interview with the Associated Press in Kiev, Ukraine. AP Photo / Emilio Morenatti, File
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The IMF announced on Thursday a $14-$18 billion bailout for Ukraine that requires the crisis-hit country to pursue painful and unpopular reforms to avert bankruptcy amid its escalating standoff with Russia.The pledge of Western assistance comes amid growing worries about a rapid Russian buildup at Ukraine's eastern border that one Kiev official said had now reached 100,000 troops.The Fund's "standby arrangement" will form the heart of a broader package released by other governments and agencies amounting to $27 billion (19.6 billion euros) over the next two years.Western support became essential for Ukraine once Russia froze payments on a $15 billion (10.9 billion euro) loan it awarded ousted president Viktor Yanukovych for his decision to ditch a historic EU trade and political relations pact. The 53-year-old has remained one of Ukraine's most powerful but also divisive figures since the day she helped organise the 2004 pro-democracy Orange Revolution that first tried to shake Kiev's powerful links to the Kremlin.Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council chief Andriy Parubiy on Thursday put the figure of Russian soldiers around Ukraine at "almost 100,000".
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