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Wednesday, 22 March 2023
Zelensky hails 18-bn-euro aid from EU as 'true solidarity'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky - Photo. Official Facebook account

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday (Nov 9) hailed the 18-billion-euro ($18-billion) economic aid announced by the European Commission to get his war-torn country through 2023.

"Grateful to the European Commission and President Ursula von der Leyen for announcing 18-billion-euro financial aid package for 2023," Zelensky said on social media. "This shows true solidarity of the EU."

The European Commission on Wednesday released details of an 18-billion-euro ($18-billion) economic support package to get Ukraine through 2023, which it hopes will be approved by EU member states.

Under the plan, the bloc would send Kyiv 1.5 billion euros per month in the form of 35-year loans, with interest payments covered by the European Union, to support Ukraine's government in the face of the Russian invasion.

"We are presenting this new financial package for Ukraine at a time of acute needs for the country, as Russia's relentless attacks continue to batter key infrastructure," said commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis.

The aftermath of Russia’s missile strike on Mykolayiv during the night of October 13. Eight Russian missiles struck civilian infrastructure, with no military sites in the area - Photo. Kostantyn & Vlada Liberov https://www.facebook.com/libkos.photo/Euromaidan Press

"Our financial assistance must be stable, structured and predictable."

The loan package will still have to be approved by EU member states, some of which have been sceptical about taking on responsibility for Ukraine's increasing debt, but the European Commission hopes to make a first payment in January.

The bloc has already sent Ukraine 4.2 billion euros in macro-financial assistance this year and plans to pay another 2.5 billion by the end of this month.

Ukraine warns of Russian ‘brutality’ in eastern region

But the International Monetary Fund estimates that Kyiv will need between three billion and four billion euros per month next year as it struggles to maintain government services while fighting off a Russian invasion that has occupied almost a fifth of its territory.

Brussels hopes that its contribution will be matched by Washington and other major international donors to bring the support to the required level.

"We will ensure Ukraine emerges from this war as a prosperous country, on the path to European integration. We will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes," von der Leyen said.