As European Union countries still debate how to disburse billions in financial assistance to Ukraine, officials in Kyiv are warning that the delays in economic aid must be resolved to avert disaster, criticizing the delays as‘ unacceptable’.
Oleg Ustenko, a top economic adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, slammed the European bloc on Monday as the EU approved another $4.9 billion (€5 billion) assistance package and agreed to send another tranche of aid between mid-October and the end of the year, insisting Ukraine’s needs must be met sooner
Pointing to massive budget shortfalls, Ustenko noted that the Ukrainian minister of finance is under extremely high pressure when he sends checks to the military or to pension funds.
Only a small fraction of the $8.8 billion (€9 billion) in assistance the EU initially approved last May has been sent so far and the rest of the original package likely won’t be sent until next year, while the latest tranche of a $4.9 billion, on the other hand, will be transferred into three installments before the end of 2022.
Ever since Russia’s attack commenced in February, Kyiv has heavily relied on foreign aid with Zelensky’s government facing a budget gap of some $5 billion per month and Ukraine’s economic output taking a hit of up to 40% this year.
According to an aid tracking tool created by the Kiel Institute, while the US approved $20 billion in economic and humanitarian assistance alone racing to inject cash into Ukraine, the EU has been more hesitant, sending a little over $13 billion altogether.
In other news, Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Twitter on Monday that Ihor Murashov, director general of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, has been released by Russian troops and returned to his family safely.
Murashov, who bears the main and exclusive responsibility for the nuclear and radiation safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, was detained on Friday by a Russian patrol on his way to Energodar.