Ukraine mulls IMF loan program as fighting rages

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Ukraine mulls IMF loan program as fighting rages

Ukraine's top finance official said the country needed a new International Monetary Fund loan program as efforts to fight off invading Russian forces stretched its finances to the limit.

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Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko told Bloomberg Radio that preliminary discussions on a new IMF package are ongoing. The Ukrainian economy shrank by almost a fifth in the first quarter, the most since 2015 after Russia annexed Crimea, according to data released late Thursday.

On the ground, Russian troops are trying to take control of remaining Ukrainian positions in the east of the country, in order to capture the city of Sievierodonetsk and launch an offensive on Slovyansk.

None Ukraine wants to shore up its war-ravaged finances with a new IMF deal.

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The company said that the Trafigura Group, one of the world's biggest commodities traders, delivered record profits of $2.7 billion in the six months through March due to wild swings in prices and arbitrage opportunities.

After Russia invaded the country, Trafigura had to pare back activities as trading risk jumped more than fivefold. The first half of the report gives an insight into how trading houses struggled with rollercoaster markets as the war and sanctions threatened to curtail supplies of energy, grains and metals from Russia.

German health minister Karl Lauterbach said treatment of injured Ukrainians is becoming more difficult as Russian bombardments are also targeting health facilities and the situation is constantly deteriorating. Lauterbach is in Ukraine Friday with a team of surgeons and specialists, as well as people from Ottobock's prosthetics company, to see how Germany can expand treatment for war victims on the ground. There are tens of thousands who need medical attention and many people, including children, have lost limbs, he said in an interview with the public broadcaster ARD.

Blinken Warns of Sham Trial of British Fighters 1: 51 a.m. A US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed concern about a sham trial after two captured British fighters and a Moroccan were sentenced to death by a court in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region of Ukraine.

The court said that the Britons and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim were convicted of fighting as mercenaries for Ukraine, Russia s Tass news service reported that they could appeal and were eligible to be pardoned. The UK Foreign Office said it was working with Ukrainian authorities on the cases of detained British nationals.

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