Yellen cites 'significant' Ukraine financing needs in meeting with PM -Treasury

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen held a virtual meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Tuesday and "acknowledged Ukraine’s significant financing needs next year," the Treasury said in a statement.

The meeting came as Ukrainian officials and International Monetary Fund staff began talks in Vienna on the country's longer-term macroeconomic plans and fiscal needs. The talks, expected to last at least through Thursday, are aimed at agreeing on a program that would include monitoring by the IMF's executive board, according to people familiar with the plans.

The board earlier this month approved Kyiv's request for $1.3 billion in emergency financing through a new facility to address urgent food shocks caused by Russia's war in Ukraine.

The U.S. Treasury said Yellen reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to support Ukraine and said that the Treasury was working swiftly to disburse $4.5 billion in recently approved budget support.

"Secretary Yellen acknowledged Ukraine’s significant financing needs next year for critical government services and urgent recovery projects," the Treasury said, adding that Yellen also emphasized the need for "inclusive coordination across international partners to help Ukraine begin to rebuild and recover."

At IMF and World Bank annual meetings last week, officials emphasized that the war was the single biggest factor slowing growth and fueling inflation, saying that ending the conflict was the fastest way to put the global economy on solid footing.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy told global finance ministers at the meetings in a virtual address that Ukraine needs at least $55 billion in the near term, including $38 billion to cover next year's estimated budget deficit and $17 billion to start to rebuild critical infrastructure, including schools, housing and energy facilities. (Reporting by David Lawder and Andrea Shalal Editing by Alistair Bell)