Finance ministers from the United States and its G7 allies called for more financial support for Ukraine on Thursday and vowed to maintain tough sanctions on Russia on the eve of the first anniversary of Moscow’s invasion.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of the Group of 20 nations in India, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen took the lead in urging the IMF to pull together a loan programme for Ukraine, adding that Washington was preparing an additional USD 10 billion in economic assistance.
The Group of Seven rich democracies, in a statement delivered by the finance minister of current head Japan, said the bloc hoped the IMF programme would be ready by March, adding that the G7 had increased financial aid for Ukraine for this year to USD 39 billion.
“We, together with the international community, remain strongly committed to addressing Ukraine’s urgent short-term financing needs,” Japanese Finance Minister Sunichi Suzuki told reporters from a resort near India’s tech hub Bengaluru, where the G20 ministerial meeting will start on Friday.
“Our sanctions have significantly undermined Russia’s capacity to wage its illegal war. We will continue to closely monitor the effectiveness of sanctions and take further actions as needed,” he added.
Ukraine is seeking a USD 15 billion multi-year IMF programme. Yellen said that previous U.S. military, economic and humanitarian aid totalling USD 46 billion had allowed Ukraine to preserve economic and financial stability.
“Our economic assistance is making Ukraine’s resistance possible by supporting the home front,” she said. “As President Biden has said, we will stand with Ukraine in its fight – for as long as it takes.”
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said the pressure on Russia must be kept high. “We have to make further efforts to completely isolate Russia from international markets,” he added.
The G20 includes the G7, as well as, among others, Russia, China, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia.
The bloc is currently chaired by India, which has kept a neutral stance on the war and does not want additional sanctions against Russia to be discussed at the meetings, government sources have told Reuters.
India was also pressing participants to avoid using “war” in communique language to describe the conflict, G20 officials said.
Yellen said the communique was still under discussion and that she would like to see a “strong condemnation” of Russia’s invasion and the damage it has caused Ukraine and the global economy.
She warned China against providing any material support to Russia’s war effort, adding that talks between the United States and China on economic issues would resume at “an appropriate time”. Ties between Beijing and Washington have been strained after the downing of a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon that floated over the continental United States this month.
The outlook for the global economy and the situation of highly indebted countries will be the main topics discussed at the G20 meetings.
Both Yellen and the G7 said the global economy was doing better than expected but that it was also important for the G20 to keep working to quell inflation.
In a bid to shape the global economic agenda, the United States on Thursday nominated Indian-American businessman Ajay Banga to become president of the World Bank, which is embarking on a major series of reforms to better respond to climate change and other pressing challenges facing developing countries.
Banga’s nomination all but assures he will take the job, as the United States is the bank’s largest shareholder. The institution plans to open nominations for the post later on Thursday.