WASHINGTON: Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmyhal on Thursday welcomed the “continuous, ironclad and unprecedented support” of the US as his country fights Russia’s invasion, and underscored Ukraine’s commitment to battling corruption.
Shmyhal, speaking alongside US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen, said it was critically important for Ukraine to begin reconstruction this year, and said Kyiv had identified a priority funding gap of US$14 billion needed this year.
Yellen, who paid a surprise visit to Kyiv in February, told Shmyhal she had seen “firsthand the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian military and people,” recounting a visit to a school damaged by Russian attacks where community members were making trench candles to send to the front lines.
She said the US had stood with Ukraine since the first day of the war, and would continue to back it “for as long as it takes.”
The US had disbursed significant economic support since the start of the war and would provide more in coming months, on top of security and humanitarian aid, she said.
“As President Zelensky said, this support is not charity – it’s an investment in democracy and global security,” she said, noting that it included safeguards to ensure that the funds were used for the intended purpose.
Yellen lauded Ukraine’s commitment to meeting reform benchmarks in a new US$15.6 billion lending program approved by the International Monetary Fund, which she said marked a significant step toward achieving a sound economic path.
Shmyhal said Ukraine had implemented exceptional control measures to account for every dollar in assistance received, and said the country had undertaken more anti-corruption reforms in the past year than during many previous years combined.
He also said Ukraine appreciated tough US sanctions imposed against Russia that covered more than 120 companies and entities, including those who facilitated sanctions evasion, and those associated with Russian energy company Rosatom.
The World Bank, UN, European Commission and Ukraine recently estimated it would cost US$411 billion to rebuild Ukraine, a big jump from the earlier estimate of US$349 billion.
Yellen on Tuesday said support from the US and the EU would take Ukraine through the end of the year, but if the war continued, Washington would have to work with partners to provide additional support as needed.