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World Bank approves $978m for Ukraine

The World Bank has approved a $US723 million ($A978 million) package of loans and grants for Ukraine, providing desperately needed government budget support as the country battles a Russian invasion.

The package includes a $US350 million loan supplement to a prior World Bank loan, augmented by about $US139 million through guarantees from the Netherlands and Sweden, the bank said on Monday.

It also includes $US134 million in grants from Britain, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland, as well as parallel financing of $US100 million from Japan.

The World Bank’s budget support loans typically do not carry restrictions on how the funds can be spent, but the bank said the “fast-disbursing” support would help Ukraine’s government provide critical services, pay hospital workers, fund pensions and continue social programs.

“The World Bank Group is taking quick action to support Ukraine and its people in the face of the violence and extreme disruption caused by the Russian invasion,” World Bank president David Malpass said.

“The World Bank Group stands with the people of Ukraine and the region. This is the first of many steps we are taking to help address the far-reaching human and economic impacts of this crisis.”

The bank said it was continuing to work on another $US3 billion package of support for Ukraine in coming months and additional support for neighbouring countries that were taking in Ukrainian refugees, now exceeding 1.7 million, mostly women, children and the elderly.

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