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Ukraine given €19bn

Ukraine won a €19bn international financial lifeline yesterday, rushed through in the wake of Russia's annexation of Crimea, as Moscow's economy minister spoke of the cost of military action in its former Soviet neighbour.

The International Monetary Fund announced agreement on a €10-13bn standby credit for Kiev in return for tough economic reforms that will unlock further aid from the European Union, the US and other lenders over two years.

The IMF deal, to be approved by the global agency's board next month, was a political boost for the pro-Western government that replaced ousted Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovich last month, prompting Moscow to seize the Black Sea peninsula.