Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that $500 million in new economic aid for Ukraine that was announced Thursday “is only the beginning.” The new aid will go directly to Kyiv and is meant to fund the Ukrainian government.
“We plan to deploy this direct aid to Ukraine as soon as possible, to be used on the most urgent needs,” Yellen said after a meeting with Ukrainian officials in Washington. “We know this is only the beginning of what Ukraine will need to rebuild.”
The new aid is on top of $500 million in direct economic aid for Ukraine President Biden announced in March. Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the US has pledged $1 billion in economic assistance and $3.4 billion in military aid, and more is coming.
President Biden has been pulling the funds out of $13.6 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine that was included in an omnibus spending bill he signed into law last month. Of that amount, $6.5 billion went to the Pentagon to replenish weapons stocks sent to Ukraine and pay for troop deployments in Eastern Europe. The rest of the funds are going towards aid for Ukraine and other US allies in the region.
As Biden is depleting the Ukraine funding, he is seeking more, and Congress is ready to oblige. House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Thursday that the chamber would be ready to take up Biden’s proposal for new Ukraine aid as early as next week.
“We’ll learn about that in the next day or so, to be taken up as soon as we can next week,” Pelosi said. Sending weapons and money to Ukraine has strong bipartisan support in Congress, and new measures are expected to pass easily.