Biden proposes $500 million in aid for Ukrainian government

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky looks at Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal as they meet with Matti Maasikas, head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, on April 18, 2022.

The Biden administration is seeking to send Ukraine $500 million to help keep its government services running as the war with Russia stretches into its third month, the Treasury Department announced Thursday.

The administration will ask Congress to approve $500 million to cover the cost of Ukraine’s basic government services, including pensions, salaries and aid programs, the Treasury Department said. The aid package would be in addition to another $800 million in military support proposed by Biden on Thursday, which would also require approval from Congress.

Biden said Thursday the U.S. has almost exhausted the $13.6 billion in Ukraine aid approved in a March government funding bill. Any new federal spending must be approved by the House and Senate before the president can sign the bill and send out the money.

“This is money the government can help use to stabilize their economy, to support communities that have been devastated by the Russian onslaught and pay the brave workers that continue to provide essential services to the people of Ukraine,” Biden said in remarks from the White House Thursday morning. 

Both Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met separately Thursday with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Wasington, D.C. Yellen and Shmyhal were joined by Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo and Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergii Marchenko.

The U.S. and its allies have provided tens of billions of dollars in military and economic support to Ukraine as it attempts to fend off the Russian invasion. Mass emigration, compulsory military service for working-age men, the destruction of Ukrainian cities and the upended wheat planting season have derailed the Ukrainian economy, exacerbating the deep humanitarian costs of war.

“In order to sustain Ukraine for the duration of this fight, next week I’m going to have to be sending to Congress a supplemental budget request to keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption to the brave Ukrainian fighters, continue to deliver economic assistance to the Ukrainian people,” Biden said.

Ukraine has successfully pushed Russian forces back from the capital Kyiv and other centrally located cities devastated by constant shelling.

After failing to topple the Ukrainian government, Russia has pivoted to entrenching control of eastern regions of Ukraine that Moscow claims without evidence to be freeing from the genocide of ethnic Russians.

The latest military package is intended to help stave off Russian advances in the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine. It includes heavy artillery, dozens of howitzers, 144,000 rounds of ammunition to be used with the howitzers, and more tactical drones, Biden said.

The funding will also cover vehicles to tow howitzers and other field equipment, the Pentagon said.

Tags Janet Yellen Joe Biden Russia Russo-Ukrainian War Ukraine Ukraine crisis Ukraine invasion Ukraine war Wally Adeyemo

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