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17 May, 2022 17:11

US tells EU to give more money to Ukraine

The US and its allies must pay Ukrainian wages and foot the bill for reconstruction, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen declared
US tells EU to give more money to Ukraine

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called on Tuesday for the US’ allies to pay Ukrainian wages and rebuild infrastructure in the war-torn country. Deeming the billions of dollars already committed by the US and Europe insufficient to keep Ukraine afloat, Yellen declared that Kiev will eventually need “massive support” on the level of the post-WWII Marshall Plan.

With US lawmakers poised to approve a $40 billion package of military and economic aid to Ukraine and the US government agencies involved there, Yellen addressed the Brussels Economic Forum on Tuesday to persuade European leaders to open their wallets for Kiev.

“I sincerely ask all our partners to join us in increasing their financial support to Ukraine,” she said.

Ukraine needs budget funding to pay soldiers, employees and pensioners, as well as to operate an economy that meets its citizens' basic needs.

The EU will soon have committed four consecutive €500 million ($520 million) packages of military aid to Ukraine since February, and €1.2 billion ($1.26 billion) worth of emergency loans since January. However, the Ukrainian government claims to need around $5 billion per month to keep the country’s economy alive. 

“What’s clear is that the bilateral and multilateral support announced so far will not be sufficient to address Ukraine’s needs, even in the short term,” Yellen declared. 

EU leaders will meet on Wednesday to discuss a new package of financial aid to Kiev. The bloc is planning on borrowing money in global markets to give to Ukraine in the form of repayable loans and non-repayable grants, according to a Guardian report. EU officials are also examining the feasibility of using assets seized from sanctioned Russians and Belarussians to finance this aid package.

According to Reuters’ sources, the package being discussed in Brussels would cover Ukraine’s expenses for roughly two months.

Yellen said that in the longer term, Ukraine would need “massive support,” on the scale of the US’ post-World War II Marshall Plan for Europe, to rebuild its economy and infrastructure.

It remains unclear to what extent the EU will be able to finance such a reconstruction project. The bloc’s 27 member states are currently grappling with skyrocketing inflation and energy costs, partly due to Brussels’ ongoing efforts to reduce energy imports from Russia. Yellen promised that the US would step up exports of American liquefied natural gas to Europe, but transporting this fuel to Europe from the US is costlier than piping it from Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that European countries are committing economic “suicide” by trying to wean themselves off Russian oil and gas, accusing them of caving to pressure “from their American overlord” without “paying any attention to the damage that they have already caused their own economy.”