US announces $1.3 billion in fresh economic aid to Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday announced $1.3 billion in fresh US economic assistance for Ukraine, AFP reported.

“As Russia continues to destroy, we are here to help Ukraine rebuild — rebuild lives, rebuild its country, rebuild its future,” Blinken told a reconstruction conference in London.

“Let’s be clear — Russia is causing Ukraine’s destruction, and Russia will eventually bear the cost of Ukraine’s reconstruction,” he said to applause, echoing remarks by leaders from Britain and the European Union.

The new funding — which comes from money already approved by the US Congress — is in addition to $63 billion provided by the United States to Ukraine since Russia started a military operation in February 2022.

Some $40 billion of the assistance has come in weapons and other security support.

Of the new aid, some $657 million will go to upgrading Ukraine’s rail lines, ports, border crossings and other infrastructure to help the country expand trade with Europe, Blinken said.

Another $520 million of the aid will help Ukraine overhaul its energy grid, much of which has been destroyed by Russian attacks, including through market reforms, Blinken said.

Among the rest of the aid, $100 million will support upgrades to Ukraine’s customs services, including by transitioning to digital technology to improve transparency in trade.

Blinken made clear that Washington would keep an eye on corruption — which could sap congressional support for helping Ukraine — and called on Ukraine’s parliament to approve a law against monopolies.

Blinken said the United States would expand assistance to bolster anti-corruption bodies and civil society as well as free media.

Such institutions are “crucial to ensuring the unprecedented resources that all of us are providing are managed responsibly”.

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