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IMF approves $17 billion bailout for Ukraine

WASHINGTON, April 30 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund's board signed off on a $17 billion two-year aid program for Ukraine on Wednesday to help the ex-Soviet republic recover after months of turmoil.

The aid will unlock further credits from other donors of about $15 billion, intended to help Ukraine stabilize its economy amid its worst civil turmoil since independence in 1991.

The decision from the IMF's 24-member board, which includes representatives from Russia and the United States, clears the way for an immediate disbursement of $3.2 billion to Ukraine's cash-strapped government, allowing it to meet looming obligations and avoid a potential debt default. Of that first tranche, $2 billion will be targeted at supporting the budget.

(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Chris Reese)