An anti-government protester throws a tyre during clashes with riot police at Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, on February 19, 2014. File picture: Vasily Fedosenko

Washington - The White House on Thursday hailed the promise of an International Monetary Fund bailout for Ukraine, saying it was a key part of a package of aid to help political and economic transition in the former Soviet republic.

“This represents a powerful sign of support from the international community for the Ukrainian government, as we help them stabilise and grow their economy, and move their democracy forward,” spokesman Jay Carney said during US President Barack Obama's visit to Rome.

“The IMF programme will be a central component of a package of assistance to support Ukraine as it implements reforms and conducts free and fair elections,” Carney said in a statement.

The IMF announced a $14-18 billion (10.8-13.1 billion euro) bailout for Ukraine to avoid bankruptcy but it comes with painful and unpopular reforms.

The agreement in principle could unlock a broader package from other governments and agencies amounting to $27 billion over the next two years. - AFP