With its economy in hot water and its political system in turmoil, Ukraine has taken a big step towards securing a vital international bailout.
Parliament has given initial approval for a package of legislation needed to secure 13 billion euros of credit from the IMF.
Ukraine has been among the countries hardest hit by the global financial crisis. The loan from the International Monetary Fund is seen as vital to stabilise the ex-Soviet state’s financial and banking system and shield the country from further trouble.
But, in a sign of the ongoing infighting in Ukraine’s corridors of power, parliament later refused to allocate funds to stage an early parliamentary election.
Called by President Viktor Yushchenko to end a political impasse, the snap ballot is bitterly opposed by his former ally, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. She says it would be “criminal” amid the world financial downturn.