US pledges $10 billion in aid to Ukraine, also plans aid to Moldova
(Reuters) – The United States on Friday announced around $10 billion in new financial aid to Ukraine, including $250 million to shore up the country’s energy infrastructure in the face of Russian attacks.
Reuters earlier Friday exclusively reported on the money for Ukraine’s electricity grid and a plan to give Moldova $300 million, according to a draft document, in part to help Chisinau wean itself off energy dependency on Russia.
“These funds will help keep schools open, power generators for hospitals running and homes and shelters across Ukraine warm,” Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said of the money for Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
He said $9.9 billion in grants would also be paid to Ukraine through the World Bank’s Public Expenditure for Administrative Capacity Endurance project.
“These funds are vital for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia and ensures the Ukrainian government can continue to meet the critical needs of its citizens, including healthcare, education and emergency services,” Blinken said.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers on both sides have been killed and millions have fled their homes since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, sparking Europe’s biggest land war since World War II.
Russia, which has failed to secure a quick victory in what President Vladimir Putin has dubbed a “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” its neighbor, has repeatedly attacked Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in what Western officials see as an attempt to to weaken Ukrainian morale in the attrition ground war.
The $300 million for Moldova includes $80 million in budget support to offset high electricity prices, $135 million for power generation projects and $85 million to improve Moldova’s ability to purchase energy from alternative sources, it said it in a second draft document.
“This aid will help Moldova address urgent needs created by Putin’s war while working towards long-term energy resilience and stronger ties with Europe,” the draft document reads.
Moldova, a former Soviet republic of 2.5 million bordering Ukraine to the west, is one of the poorest nations in Europe and has traditionally been heavily dependent on Russian gas.
The money comes from a $45 billion pool for Ukraine included in a broader spending bill passed by Congress last year. As part of the US budget process, Congress has 15 days after notification from the government to review planned spending.
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Additional reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Patricia Zengerle; Writing by Arshad Mohammed and Michelle Nichols; Editing by William Mallard and Leslie Adler)