The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a USD 17.1 B bailout for Ukraine to help the country’s economy.

The loan is dependent on strict economic reforms, including raising taxes and energy prices.

The money will be released over two years, with the first installment of USD 3.2 B available immediately.

The head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, said the IMF would check regularly to ensure the Ukrainian government followed through on its commitments.

In March Ukraine put up gas prices by 50% in an effort to secure the bailout.The government has also agreed to freeze the minimum wage.

The bailout had to be approved by the IMF’s 24-member board, which includes a Russian representative.

The IMF loan will also unlock further funds worth USD 15 B from other donors, including the World Bank, EU, Canada and Japan.