By Jonathan Davies

The Ukraine central bank has raised interest rates from 19.5% to 30% in an attempt to fight-off inflation and boost its battered currency.

The Ukrainain economy has suffered enormously as a result of the conflict in the east of the country which has seen pro-Russian rebels fighting government forces.

Inflation is expected to rise to at least 26% and its currency, the hryvnia, has lost 80% of its value against the US dollar. The country's economy is expected to shrink by 5.5% this year.

The latest rise in interest rates comes as the Ukraine government hopes to secure a $17.5bn (£11.4bn; €15.6bn) assistance programme from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

On Monday, parliament voted in favour of a set of reforms which could determine its ability to avoid an economic meltdown in the next few weeks.