POLITICS: PennAve

U.S. prepares $1 billion aid package for Ukraine

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Politics,White House,Treasury,Russia,National Security,PennAve,Vladimir Putin,Meghashyam Mali,Foreign Policy,Ukraine

The Obama administration is working with Congress and the International Monetary Fund to provide Ukraine with $1 billion in loan guarantees to help stabilize the country's economy, the White House announced on Tuesday.

The move comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin ignored calls to withdraw troops sent into Ukraine's Crimea region and claimed that Kiev's interim government had achieved power in an unconstitutional coup.

“President Obama has made clear that the United States will continue to support the Government of Ukraine, including economically,” the White House said in a statement Tuesday.

“We have been working closely with international partners to develop an assistance package that will provide rapid financial and technical assistance to help Ukraine restore economic stability and conduct free, fair, and inclusive new elections that will allow the Ukrainian people to continue to make democratic choices about their future.”

The move comes as Secretary of State John Kerry is slated to arrive in Kiev on Tuesday to express U.S. support for the embattled regime there.

Military forces directed by Moscow moved into the Crimean region over the weekend, claiming they were there to protect ethnic Russians in the Ukrainian region after Putin's ally, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled from office after mass protests and was removed from power.

Obama called the military intervention a violation of international law and said there would be “costs” for Russia’s action.

The centerpiece of U.S. assistance announced Tuesday will be a $1 billion in loan guarantees “aimed at helping insulate vulnerable Ukrainians from the effects of reduced energy subsidies.”

Russia has threatened to cut off generous energy subsidies to Kiev, a move which could deliver a crippling blow to Ukraine’s already weak economy.

The U.S. is also sending “technical expertise” to help Ukraine’s central bank and finance ministry.

“The United States is dispatching highly experienced technical advisors to help the Ukrainian financial authorities manage immediate market pressures,” the statement said. “The United States will also provide expertise to help Ukraine implement critical energy sector reforms.”

Additionally, the U.S. is sending in teams to help Ukraine’s government prepare for new democratic elections and anti-corruption experts to increase transparency and recover “assets stolen from the people of Ukraine.”

The White House also said that the administration was working closely with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to approve IMF quota legislation which determines the body’s rules on voting and access to capital. The move would “would support the IMF’s capacity to lend additional resources to Ukraine, while also helping to preserve continued U.S. leadership within this important institution,” said the statement.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew on Tuesday said the U.S. was “prepared to work with its bilateral and multilateral partners to provide as much support as Ukraine needs to restore financial stability and return to economic growth, if the new government implements the necessary reforms.”

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