| 20 March 2023, Monday |

Yellen in surprise visit to Kyiv to reaffirm U.S. economic aid to Ukraine

On a surprise visit to Kyiv on Monday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reaffirmed Washington’s backing for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion and promoted U.S. financial assistance that is supporting Ukraine’s war effort.

Just days into the second year of the war, Yellen met with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and other important government figures, confirming U.S. guarantees made by President Joe Biden a week earlier in Kyiv.

“America will stand with Ukraine as long as it takes,” Yellen, flanked by sandbags at the cabinet ministers’ office, told Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

In a private meeting with Zelenskiy late in the afternoon, the Treasury said she commended him “for his leadership and resolve in the face of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war.”

The Treasury said she welcomed Zelenskiy’s actions to strengthen governance and address corruption – actions needed to ensure that U.S. economic aid is being spent responsibly.

“The United States has been powerfully supporting us since the first days of this war not only with weapons, but also on the financial front,” Zelenskiy said on his Telegram social media channel.

“It is necessary to further strengthen sanctions to deprive Russia of the ability to finance the war.”

In public remarks, Shmyhal said he and Yellen discussed additional sanctions on Russia, including confiscating frozen Russian assets to benefit Ukraine’s recovery.

However, Yellen cautioned against fresh restrictions on Russia’s nuclear energy sector and warned reporters during a phone conference that there were still considerable legal barriers standing in the way of fully taking the $300 billion in frozen assets held by the Russian central bank.

Yellen declared the transfer of the first $1.25 billion from the most recent $9.9 billion tranche of Washington’s economic and budget support.

  • Reuters