The “Russian military are aimed at destroying all objects in Ukraine that can serve as an economic base for life. That includes railroad stations, food warehouses, oil, refineries,” Zelensky told leaders of the World Bank and IMF via video link at a meeting to discuss a financial lifeline for Kyiv.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced $500 million in aid to help Ukraine continue paying salaries, pensions and providing services.
She detailed the assistance following her meeting Wednesday with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and Finance Minister Sergiy Marchenko, saying it was necessary to help their government continue to function amid the ongoing Russian invasion.
“The needs of Ukraine are urgent, and we plan to deploy this direct aid to Ukraine as soon as possible to be used on most urgent needs,” Yellen said.
“We know this is only the beginning of what Ukraine will need to rebuild. And I’m committed to working with Congress and with our international allies and partners to build on this support in the medium and long term.”
The American aid follows another $500 million package of support Washington offered to Ukraine last month, and comes as Western nations along with the International Monetary and World Bank step up aid to Kyiv as fighting rages in the country’s east and south.
In the forum hosted by World Bank President David Malpass, Shmyhal said the country needs a “financial bridge” of as much as $5 billion a month for the next five months.
And he called for “a recovery plan for Ukraine, similar to (the) Marshall Plan for Europe after the Second World War.”
Zelensky has called for more weapons, saying Ukraine still does not have enough, despite billions in Western military aid that has forced Russia to re-focus its offensive away from Kyiv and towards the east.
He said the West should ramp up pressure on Moscow imposing more financial pain and cutting off relations with Vladimir Putin’s government.
The IMF has warned of economic devastation both in Ukraine and abroad from the war.
The conflict will cause the country’s economy to collapse 35 percent this year, the IMF said this week, while Russia’s will drop 8.5 percent.
The “seismic” impacts of the war are spreading worldwide, lowering global growth to 3.6 percent, nearly a point lower than first estimated in January, the Washington-based crisis lender reported this week.