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28th Feb 2024

EU not doing enough to help Ukraine, Yellen says

  • US secretary of the treasury Janet Yellen attended the Brussels Economic Forum on Tuesday as part of a whirlwind tour in Europe (Photo: EU Commission)
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Europe needs to step up support to Ukraine in the face of continued Russian aggression, US treasury secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday (17 May).

"I sincerely ask all our partners to join us in increasing their financial support to Ukraine," she said, speaking at the Brussels Economic Forum.

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"Support announced so far will not be sufficient to address Ukraine's needs, even in the short term."

The US has already approved $13.6bn [€12.9bn] in emergency funds and is expected to sign off on an additional $40bn worth of aid on Thursday— a figure in total exceeding the entire US State Department budget.

So far, the EU has dispensed €4.1bn in emergency loans and €1.5bn in (non-lethal) military assistance and is expected to announce additional funds in the coming days, although it is unclear how much this will be.

Yellen, who is on a whirlwind tour in Europe this week, with stops in Brussels, Bonn, and Warsaw, said EU and US aid is "critical" to help ensure Ukraine "prevails over Putin's aggression."

US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin, after a visit to Kyiv in April, also said Ukraine "can win" the war against Russia.

"We will not recognise a single square kilometre of Ukrainian land taken by the Russians," EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said in a press conference on Monday. "We hope Ukraine will win this war."

However, as economic costs of the war and high energy prices are edging the bloc towards a recession, some EU leaders are starting to sound less war-like, and have instead called for an early peace.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz, after a lengthy telephone call with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Friday, tweeted that there "must be a ceasefire in Ukraine as quickly as possible."

In the last week, French president Emmanuel Macron and Italian prime minister Mario Draghi have also called for an end of the war sooner rather than later.

In an interview with Italian media on Thursday last week, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine would not play along if it meant giving up territory.

"We won't help Putin save face by paying with our territory. That would be unjust, he said.

Yellen addressed the EU energy worries by pledging to increase US liquified natural gas exports to help the EU quit Russian gas.

She also said Europe needs to increase funding, not just in the short term, but to help the country rebuild its economy after the war.

Ukraine needs "massive support and private investment for reconstruction and recovery, akin to the task of rebuilding in Europe after 1945", she said in her Brussels speech.

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