WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30, 2014: International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde announces a two-year "Stand-By Arrangement" for Ukraine at IMF headquarters on April 30, 2014 in Washington D.C. Allison Shelley/Getty Images/AFP
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KIEV:The International Monetary Fund has thrown a $17-billion lifeline to recession-wracked Ukraine, whose president has admitted that authorities are powerless to prevent pro-Russian militants over-running the east of the country.The Washington-based IMF said that $3.2 billion would be available immediately, as the West tries to shore up the government in Kiev which has put its armed forces on "full combat alert" amid fears of a Russian invasion. As tensions remained high, Ukraine staged a military drill in the government quarter in central Kiev early Thursday, involving some 10 armoured personnel carriers and soldiers armed with Kalashnikov rifles. The deal was approved by the IMF's 24-member board, including a representative from Russia, which the West accuses of fomenting unrest in the eastern regions of the country to destabilise its neighbour.Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied his forces are operating in eastern Ukraine but Moscow has an estimated 40,000 troops parked on the border.As tensions mount between Kiev and Moscow, Ukraine late Wednesday arrested the Russian defence attache and told him to leave, accusing him of spying. The unrest in Ukraine, which started with peaceful demonstrations in Kiev against former president Viktor Yanukovych, has rapidly spiralled into one of the worst geopolitical crises in years.
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