Big ticket items featured in Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal’s visit to Washington DC yesterday.
Shmyhal spent his time in the US capital pressing hard for assistance for both Ukraine’s much-mooted 2023 offensive and for the country’s reconstruction.
In terms of military assistance, Shmyhal put the case to US Secretary for Defense Lloyd Austin for Ukraine for urgent US assistance to finalise preparations for Ukraine’s upcoming attempt to take back Russian-occupied territories. Shmyhal specifically asked the Pentagon chief to provide F-15 and F-16 fighter jets and longer-range missiles to Ukraine, as air power is considered a key requirement of future battlefield success.
Important meeting with 🇺🇸 Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin @SecDef. We discussed urgent needs in liberating 🇺🇦 territories and joint efforts to strengthen our capabilities for the future. Grateful to 🇺🇸 and the American people for their strong support for Ukraine's victory. pic.twitter.com/e9NjeoSNT9— Denys Shmyhal (@Denys_Shmyhal) April 12, 2023
"We will win this war, but to achieve it faster and with fewer casualties, Ukraine still needs intensive military support," Shmyhal said.
Austin did not comment on the specific requests but did commit to expanding the production of military assets in the US for Ukraine.
In terms of financial support for Ukraine’s reconstruction, following participation in a Ministerial roundtable at the Spring Meeting of the World Bank and International Money Fund (IMF) being held in Washington, Shymal announced that Ukraine expected to receive $115 billion from partners.
"International partners will provide Ukraine with $115 billion in long-term support,” Shmyhal posted on Telegram. “This will not only ensure our financial stability, but also send a clear signal to Russia that Ukraine's allies will support us as long as it takes. Until complete victory.”
According to AFP, the World Bank has mobilized more than $23 billion in financing for Ukraine since Russia invaded in February last year, with $20 billion disbursed so far. For its part, the IMF announced on March 31 that it had approved a $15.6 billion support package for Ukraine, forming the fund's portion of the $115 billion overall support package comprised of debt relief, grants and loans by multilateral and bilateral institutions.
Yesterday, prior to the roundtable which President Zelensky also addressed by video link, the World Bank announced a grant of $200 million toward repairing Ukraine's energy infrastructure. Russia damaged more than 50 percent of Ukraine's power infrastructure in attacks on its neighbor over the autumn and winter months, the global lender said in a statement. The project will target emergency repairs to electricity and heating infrastructure.
"Energy infrastructure has suffered $11 billion in damages over the last year and is one of the most critical areas where Ukraine needs urgent support," said World Bank Managing Director of Operations Anna Bjerde.
During the roundtable, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked partners their support and urged further backing.
"By rebuilding what has been ruined, we defeat the goal of terror, we return the normal life," he said in English, reiterating a call for Russian assets to be put towards Ukraine's reconstruction.
IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva praised Ukraine's resilience in the face of the invasion, saying at the meeting that the country's repairs, economic activity and functioning government demonstrated "victory of civility over evil."
According to a recent study by the World Bank, the United Nations, the European Commission and Ukraine As reported by AFP, Ukraine will however need an estimated $411 billion for recovery and reconstruction. The sum is an increase on the $349 billion estimated in September and is likely to only grow as the conflict continues.
The study estimated Ukraine will need $14 billion for critical expenditures in 2023.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal, who attended the IMF meeting in person, urged allies to stump up the $11 billion still needed in that initial financing.
We are starting to rebuild Ukraine 🇺🇦. During the #SpringsMeetings2023 in Washington, I told our partners about rapid recovery projects that will require $14 billion already this year. I am grateful for the long-term support. pic.twitter.com/IsFjLZ7hiv— Denys Shmyhal (@Denys_Shmyhal) April 12, 2023
"This is a number one priority for my country to bring people a minimum level of social and humanitarian services," Shmygal said.
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