The United States Secretary of the Treasury secretly traveled to Ukraine and announced a new aid package for USD 1.2 billion

Zelensky receives Yelen in kyiv (Reuters) (UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER /)

The United States Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellenmade an unannounced trip to Ukraine to bolster support for the Joe Biden administration and highlight the financial aid provided to keep schools, hospitals and other essential services running in the country that was invaded by Russia a year ago.

Yellen’s surprise visit to the capital takes place a week after President Joe Biden’s and is aimed at globally emphasizing Washington’s commitment to Ukraine and demonstrating to the US why the country needs billions of dollars in non-military aid.

Both Biden and Yellen have said Washington will back Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” Polls show growing skepticism among Americans about the cost and some Republicans in Congress are calling for more scrutiny of US assistance.

One of the meetings held by Zelensky and Yellen (Reuters)
One of the meetings held by Zelensky and Yellen (Reuters) (UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SER /)

Without that funding, “Ukrainian children could no longer go to school, nor parents to workYellen said in an interview with Bloomberg News before her trip. “They couldn’t fund first responders or hospitals and provide the basic government services that are absolutely necessary for the country to function.”

Yellen met with the president, Volodimir Zelenskyand the prime minister Denys Shmyhal. He also visited teachers and administrators at a school hit by missiles in the first month of the war.

There he announced the disbursement of the first $1.25 billion in new economic assistance, out of a total of $10 billion pledged by the Administration. The US has already provided nearly $50 billion to Ukraine, mainly in military aid, he noted.

Yellen also laid a wreath at a memorial wall honoring those who died in the war, and spent several minutes looking at the destroyed Russian tanks and artillery on display.

Yellen praised the Ukrainian government for its work over the past year and its focus on fighting corruption, saying on Monday that Zelensky’s commitment to using international assistance responsibly is “essential”. The government’s competence in managing finances and the economy “is, frankly, exemplary,” he said in the interview.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, left, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal hold a joint news conference in kyiv (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, left, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal hold a joint news conference in Kiev (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) (Thibault Camus/)

Ukraine has relied on a combination of foreign and local sources to finance your war budget after the invasion in February of last year will hit the economy hard.

“We are committed to providing you with the security assistance you need to defend your country”Yellen said in her meeting with Zelenski, according to a copy of her comments provided by the Treasury Department. “But we also know that resistance on the front lines is not possible without a strong and stable home front: a functioning economy and a government that continues to provide vital services.”

(With information from Bloomberg)

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