U.S. sends Ukraine $1.3 billion in emergency economic aid

The Treasury Department on Wednesday announced the delivery of $1.3 billion in economic aid to Ukraine, as the United States seeks to help the beleaguered nation respond to the enormous financial impact of Russia’s invasion.

The transferred funds — the first of $7.5 billion in economic aid approved by Congress last month — comes amid new estimates that Ukraine’s economy and infrastructure have suffered extensive damage from the war. Ukraine faces a monthly budget deficit of $5 billion and has sustained more than $100 billion in direct damage to its civilian infrastructure alone, according to analysts at the Kyiv School of Economics. The World Bank previously estimated that Ukraine’s economy could contract by as much as 45 percent this year.

Ukraine asks U.S. for $2 billion per month in emergency economic aid

The $1.3 billion represents more than double what the United States had previously approved through any prior grant of economic assistance to Ukraine, although the Biden administration has already devoted billions in military assistance to the country as well. Treasury aims to disburse the fully $7.5 billion in economic aid by the end of September.

“With this delivery of economic assistance, we reaffirm our resolute commitment to the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war of aggression and work to sustain their economy,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said in a statement. “The Treasury Department, together with the State Department and USAID, continues to move swiftly to ensure that President Biden’s package of support, approved by Congress, will reach those in need as quickly as possible.”

Western leaders have pledged to support Ukraine economically and militarily to resist the invasion, but it is unclear how long the political will for providing aid to Ukraine will last. The West has already endured severe price hikes for energy, food and other items due to the sanctions imposed on Russia since the invasion. Some experts have called for the United States to lead international allies in funding a program to rebuild Ukraine similar to the Marshall Plan that helped Western Europe after World War II. Those efforts could cost hundreds of billions of dollars, however, at a time when many western nations already face high budget deficits.

Still, Ukraine has also clamored for more immediate international aid since the war began, with many of its citizens reporting that they can’t find adequate food, medicine, gas and other necessities. The U.N. Refugee Agency has estimated more than 6 million people have fled Ukraine to neighboring regions, and another 8 million have been displaced within the country. Roughly 12 million Ukrainians “are expected to need humanitarian assistance,” an increase of around 9 million since the war started, according to the U.N. agency. Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergii Marchenko previously said Ukraine spent more than $1 billion in March alone on assisting refugees.