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EU's lending arm pledges to speed up Ukraine spending

The logo of the EIB is pictured in the city of Luxembourg

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Union's lending arm, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a pledge to speed up the use of over 560 million euros ($595.90 million) it has ready to support Ukraine's rebuild effort this year.

The EIB and Ukraine's government said a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed "to accelerate deployment of financial support and project execution on the ground".

Ukraine, which is facing renewed pressure in its more than 2-year war with Russia, has been frustrated that only a fraction of the tens of billions of dollars and euros pledged by Western allies has been utilised so far.

"The memorandum signed today calls for the rapid implementation of ongoing EIB projects in Ukraine," the statement said after the MoU was signed by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and EIB President Nadia Calviño at IMF meetings in Washington.

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It highlighted that the country has access this year to 500 million euros in EIB loan funds and 60 million euro in EU grants.

The EIB is also looking to spend at least 2 billion euros of the EU's 50 billion euro "Ukraine Facility" fund on "critical public sector projects" in the country such as housing, schools and hospitals and repairing and modernising the country's damaged power grid and railways.

Some of the money will be used for rebuilding work already done this year. Additionally, the MoU also opens up Europe's advisory services programme JASPERS (Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions) which was deployed in Greece after its economic collapse almost 15 years ago.

In Ukraine's case it will "help prepare significant investments and improve capabilities to meet EU standards", the statement said.

($1 = 0.9398 euros)

(Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Andrea Ricci)