IMF: Ukraine economic picture 'incredibly encouraging'

People queue at an exchange counter in central Kiev on February 28, 2014 (AFP Photo/Yuriy Dyachyshyn)

Washington (AFP) - Ukraine's government is determined to undertake long-needed reforms, making the economic picture in the country very encouraging, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Wednesday.

After a horrible track record with the global crisis lender over the past two decades, Lagarde said the current government is taking the necessary steps on fiscal reform and fighting corruption to turn the country around.

"Ukraine has been an incredibly encouraging situation," she said in an online press conference.

Despite the ongoing security challenge with pro-Moscow rebels occupying large parts of the country's east, "we have seen political determination to change the face of Ukraine," she said.

Confronted by a long list of deep-seated policy challenges, the country's leaders understand that "they have to attack on all fronts."

Despite strong forces threatening to destabilize the country, "the Ukrainian authorities have actually delivered," she said, showing "very strong political deliberation."

The encouraging words came amid doubts that the country can surmount all of its challenges -- including restructuring huge debts with private creditors and fending off pressure from secessionists -- to be able to restore the economy to solid growth.

But Lagarde emphasized the gains that are being made, including in the talks with bondholders.

"We are encouraged that that negotiation is making progress," she said, adding she hopes the bondholders "are sensible on what can be achieved."