IMF estimates Ukraine needs $4 billion a month to keep government operating

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The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Ukraine needs between $3 billion and $4 billion a month in external aid to make sure its government doesn’t collapse as it fights an increasingly brutal war against Russia.

“Our preliminary estimate is that somewhere between three and four billion dollars are necessary on a monthly basis,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said at an annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

The external aid would go toward the most basic economic needs of Ukraine, including social services, infrastructure and energy costs, Georgieva said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an appeal to the international development banks by video teleconference Wednesday, asking for $55 billion to cover Ukraine’s 2023 budget deficit as well as to help the country rebuild from the war.

Ukraine has been the recipient of a steady flow of foreign cash and weapons, and the country applied to join the NATO military alliance in September.

The IMF and World Bank have already provided Ukraine with $35 billion in economic funding, Georgieva said Wednesday. That’s on top of the tens of billions of dollars in economic assistance provided directly to Ukraine by the United States.

Addressing the IMF meeting Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged “donors need to keep stepping up.” 

“The United States recently reaffirmed our commitment to Ukraine through congressional approval of another $4.5 billion in grant assistance, which we will begin to disburse in the coming weeks. This is in addition to the $8.5 billion in grants already disbursed, making the United States the largest provider of economic assistance to Ukraine,” Yellen said.

U.S. military aid provided to Ukraine since Russia’s February invasion of the country also numbers in the tens of billions.

“In total, the United States has committed more than $13.5 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration,” which includes around $12.9 billion since late February, an August fact sheet from the Defense Department states.

The conflict has taken a vicious turn in recent weeks following a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive that retook territory in the northeast of the country. The destruction on Saturday of a vital resupply line for the Russian army over a bridge in Crimea prompted renewed strikes on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as well as accusations of terrorism from Russian officials.

Rhetoric on the prospect of nuclear war has ramped up from both Russia and the West, with President Biden warning of “Armageddon” at a Democratic fundraiser last week.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked the day following Biden’s remarks if there was any new assessment that ratcheted up the administration’s level of concern about the threat of nuclear weapons. Jean-Pierre responded, “no.”

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