US offers Ukraine $1 billion loan to support economy amid tensions with Russia

The United States has offered a sovereign loan guarantee to Ukraine of up to $1 billion to support the country’s economy as the Eastern European country prepares for a possible one-day Russian invasion to another, the State Department announced Monday.

The offer “will strengthen Ukraine’s ability to deliver economic stability, growth and prosperity to its people in the face of Russia’s destabilizing behavior,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

“This action builds on the support that the United States, our allies and partners, including the G7 and international financial institutions, have provided to Ukraine to help protect its economy from Russian pressure in recent years. years. “

The United States issued three separate billion-dollar sovereign loan guarantees to Ukraine – which guarantee that the borrower will repay the loan and interest in full – between 2014 and 2016, when the country’s economy suffered. after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula, the State Department said.

“These loan guarantees have played a vital role in helping Ukraine successfully stabilize its economy amid previous Russian aggression and implement a bold economic reform program supported by ambitious cooperation with the International Monetary Fund. “Blinken said.

Russian soldiers take part in military exercises in Siberia.

In addition, the State Department said the Export-Import Bank of the United States plans to release $3 billion “to facilitate the purchase of American goods and services for projects in Ukraine.”

“We are exploring other ways to support Ukraine and its people, and we will continue to work with Congress to advance those efforts,” Blinken said.

On Monday, Blinken ordered US diplomats to move embassy operations in Ukraine from the capital Kiev to the western city of Lviv, less than 80 km from the border of NATO ally Poland, in because of the “dramatic acceleration” of Russia’s military build-up.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told his compatriots on Monday that the day supposedly set for an invasion was this Wednesday.

“We are threatened with a great war and the date for the invasion has been set,” he said, referring to comments from Biden administration officials that an attack could take place this week.

“We are told that February 16 will be the day of the attack, but we will make it the day of unity,” Zelensky added. “I have already signed the corresponding decree. On this day, we will raise national flags everywhere and wear blue and yellow ribbons to show the world our unity.

Mykhailo Podoliak, an assistant to the Ukrainian leader, then returned to the president’s remarks. He told CNN that Zelensky was “ironically” repeated media speculation.

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