President Yellen makes surprise visit to Kiev, reaffirms US economic aid to Ukraine

KIEV—U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made a surprise visit to Kiev on Monday to reaffirm U.S. support for Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression and promote U.S. economic aid to boost Ukraine’s war effort.

Days after the war began, President Yellen met with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko and other key government officials, reiterating U.S. assurances expressed by President Joe Biden in Kiev a week earlier. rice field.

Surrounded by sandbags in her cabinet, Yellen told Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmykhal during her visit, which also aimed to bolster support at home for continued assistance, that “the United States will continue to support Ukraine as long as necessary.” will support,” he said.

In a private meeting with President Zelensky late in the afternoon, the Treasury Chief of Staff praised him for “his leadership and determination in the face of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war.”

Yellen said she welcomes Zelensky’s actions to strengthen governance and tackle corruption. This is a necessary action to ensure that U.S. economic aid is used responsibly, a message I repeated in my talks with Mr. Marchenko.

“Since the first days of this war, the United States has strongly supported us, not just in arms, but financially,” Zelensky said on his Telegram social media channel.

“Sanctions need to be tougher to deprive Russia of its ability to finance wars.”

In a public statement, Mr. Schmichal said he had discussed additional sanctions against Russia with Mr. Yellen. This includes the confiscation of frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine recover.

But Yellen told reporters in a telephone briefing that there were still significant legal obstacles to fully seizing about $300 billion in frozen Central Bank assets, saying Russia’s nuclear power sector issued a warning about new regulations for

Yellen announced the transfer of the first $1.25 billion from the latest $9.9 billion economic and budget support tranche from Washington.

Air raid sirens on arrival

Yellen’s visit followed Biden’s unannounced visit to Kiev, pledging $500 million in additional military aid to Ukraine, effectively banning U.S. imports of Russian aluminum, announced days later. A week after pledging new sanctions against Russia, including

Yellen’s staff worked to keep the visit secret until she left Kiev, as Biden did, and Monday’s daily media advisory only said she would “meet with advisers and staff.”

After landing on a US military plane near Rzeszow, Poland, near Ukraine’s western border, she traveled by night train to Kiev with a small group of senior aides, and after a full day of meetings, took the night train again. I left.

Shortly before she reached the capital, the city’s air raid sirens went off warning of a possible attack, but it often turned out to be a false alarm.

On a chilly morning, President Yellen laid a wreath at a memorial to Ukrainian soldiers who died in the war.

She stopped to inspect the destroyed Russian tanks and mobile guns on display in the city square, which had been cleared of visitors, and met with first responders of the city’s emergency services.

budget support

Yellen visited Kiev on her return to Washington from the G-20 financial leaders meeting in Bengaluru, India, and urged her counterparts to step up economic aid to Ukraine, while G-20 ministers announced that Russia insisted on strongly condemning the aggression. .

The United States has provided over $13 billion in economic and budget support funds to Ukraine since the war began, and the latest spending pushed that to over $14 billion, with a further $8.65 billion by Sept. 30. A dollar is expected.

Yellen and Treasury officials saw the visit as an important way to reinforce to the American public the importance of maintaining economic and financial support for Ukraine.

Ukraine is estimated to need between $40 billion and $57 billion in external funding to support its economy this year and has negotiated a $15.5 billion loan program with the International Monetary Fund to partially fill the shortfall. I’m trying to fill in

Yellen told Marchenko that she supported the completion of the IMF-funded program for Ukraine by the end of March, the finance ministry said in a statement.

Yellen said such economic support keeps the Ukrainian government and essential public services running, schools open and pensions paid, and provides a “foundation of stability” that fuels Ukrainian resistance.

In Kiev Obolon School No. 168, where the salaries of teachers, administrators and support staff are reimbursed from the US Budget Support Fund, Yellen said, “Without an effective government in the country, no sustained military effort can succeed. No,” he said.