Feb 24 (Reuters) – The United States on Friday announced some $10 billion in new financial help for Ukraine, including $250 million to shore up the country’s energy infrastructure in the face of Russian attacks.
Reuters had exclusively reported the money for Ukraine’s power grid earlier on Friday, as well as a plan – according to a draft document – to give $300 million for Moldova, partly to help Chisinau wean itself from energy dependence on Russia.
“These funds will help keep schools open, power generators for hospitals running, and keep homes and shelters across Ukraine warm,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said of the money for Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.
He said $9.9 billion in grant financing would also be disbursed to Ukraine through the World Bank’s Public Expenditures for Administrative Capacity Endurance project.
“These funds are crucial to Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia and ensures the Ukrainian government can continue to meet the critical needs of its citizens, including healthcare, education and emergency services,” Blinken said.
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers on both sides have been killed and millions have fled their homes since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, triggering Europe’s biggest land war since World War Two.
Russia, which failed to secure a quick victory in what President Vladimir Putin calls a “special operation” to demilitarize and “denazify” its neighbor, has repeatedly attacked Ukrainian energy infrastructure, which Western officials see as an effort to weaken Ukrainian morale in the grinding ground war.
The $300 million for Moldova includes $80 million in budget support to offset high electricity prices, $135 million for electric power generation projects, and $85 million to improve Moldova’s ability to obtain energy supplies from alternative sources, according to a second draft document.
“This assistance will help Moldova address urgent needs created by Putin’s war, while also building toward long-term energy resilience and stronger interconnections with Europe,” the draft document said.
Moldova, a former Soviet republic of 2.5 million people neighboring Ukraine to the west, is one of the poorest nations in Europe and has traditionally been heavily reliant on Russian gas.
The money is from a pool of $45 billion for Ukraine included in a broader spending bill passed by Congress last year. Under U.S. budget procedures, Congress has 15 days after notification by the administration to review the planned spending.