EU approves one billion euros in financial aid to Ukraine, freezes Russian assets
Iran Press TV
Tuesday, 12 July 2022 3:47 PM
The European Union (EU) has approved one billion euros in financial aid to Ukraine while freezing Russian assets worth more than 13 billion dollars over Moscow's months-long military offensive in the former Soviet republic.
EU finance ministers announced on Monday that the one-billion-euro financial aid to Ukraine was the first installment of a promised nine-billion-euro package agreed by European leaders in May.
"This will give Ukraine the necessary funds to cover urgent needs and ensure the operation of critical infrastructure," said Zbynek Stanjura, the finance minister of the Czech Republic, which holds the EU's rotating presidency.
The bloc's diplomats said the rest of the nine billion euros was held up as some member states argued over whether a country at war was in a position to sign on to long-term loans.
The latest one billion euros allocated for Ukraine is in addition to the 1.2 billion euros disbursed earlier this year by the European bloc, bringing the bloc's total financial aid to Ukraine since Russia's offensive started in late February to 2.2 billion euros.
Ukraine needs urgent foreign aid as the country is facing a five-billion-euro budget shortfall per month in the wake of the Russian offensive. Western governments have rushed to help Ukraine, with the G7 and others announcing commitments of 29.6 billion dollars in further funds for Kiev.
Last month, the administration of US President Joe Biden transferred 1.3 billion dollars to Ukraine as part of an initial 7.5 billion dollars promised to Kiev.
The Monday announcement came as EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said the bloc had frozen Russian assets worth 13.8 billion dollars over the country's months-long offensive in Ukraine.
"For the moment, we have frozen â€” coming from oligarchs and other entities â€” 13.8 billion dollars, so it's quite huge," Reynders told reporters ahead of an informal meeting of EU justice ministers in the Czech capital of Prague.
"But I must say that a very large part of it, more than 12 billion... is coming from five member states," he added.
Reynders refused to name the five countries but added he expected the other members of the 27-member bloc to step up efforts soon.
Ukrainian Justice Minister Denys Maliuska said in Prague that the assets should be used to cover compensation for war damages.
Russia launched the military operations in Ukraine on February 24. At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of what he called a "special military operation" was to "de-Nazify" Ukraine.
Since then, the United States and its European allies have unleashed a flood of advanced weapons into Ukraine and imposed waves of unprecedented sanctions on Moscow. Russia says the weapon supplies and the sanctions will only prolong the war.
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