HomePoliticsYellen calls Republican delays in approving aid to Ukraine inexcusable

Yellen calls Republican delays in approving aid to Ukraine inexcusable

By Andrea Shalal and David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday underscored the Biden administration’s commitment to providing Ukraine with the fiscal and military aid it needs, while calling Republican delays in approving the aid inexcusable.

Yellen made the comments after meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko. Their meeting followed a conference in Ukraine held on the sidelines of the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

She said the officials discussed their shared priorities, including global financial support for Ukraine, progress on reforms in Ukraine and Russia’s obligation to pay for damages from its war of aggression.

“United States budget support is more important than ever because it is inextricably linked to Ukraine’s battlefield success and the government’s ability to provide essential services to its people,” Yellen said.

She said Washington and its allies have provided significant support to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, with extensive checks and safeguards to ensure the money reaches the right people and is used appropriately.

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Yellen praised the U.S. Senate for approving additional funding for Ukraine on a bipartisan basis and said the inability of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to act for so long is “inexcusable and detrimental to our national security.”

“Every moment of delay by Republicans in the House of Representatives strengthens (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and emboldens America’s adversaries around the world, who are closely watching whether … the United States remains committed to a democratic to support Ukraine as it fends off an autocratic country. Russia,” she added.

Shmyhal underscored the urgency of U.S. assistance in his remarks after the meeting, saying Russia is determined to undermine Ukraine’s economy with attacks on infrastructure including the power grid, ports, farms and factories.

“There is a risk of even greater destruction. If Russia destroys the Ukrainian economy, it will cripple the Ukrainian state to the point where it can no longer defend itself on the battlefield,” Shmyhal said.

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He said Ukraine is ready to work with all parties, including the World Bank, to ensure transparency of U.S. aid and that it aims for “zero tolerance” of potential abuses.

Yellen praised Ukrainian officials for maintaining economic stability and implementing ambitious reforms under what she called incredibly difficult circumstances.

She said Washington and its allies must remain vigilant to ensure Russia is unable to acquire the goods and resources it needs to continue its war, and said the coalition would continue to raise costs for Russia through sanctions, while working to suppress evasion networks. around the world.

Shmyhal said the US and its allies should strengthen sanctions aimed at reducing Russia’s ability to wage war, adding: “It is particularly necessary to limit the supply of Western technologies to the Russian military-industrial complex completely blocked.”

He also called for sanctions against the entire Russian banking sector and Russia’s nuclear sector.

Shmyhal said he also expected the US Congress to pass the Repo Act, which would give the Biden administration the authority to seize frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine.

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(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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