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 Russian invasion any day, the Department of State announced on Monday.
The offer “will bolster Ukraine’s ability to ensure economic stability, growth, and prosperity for 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 the United States, our allies, and partners, including the G7 and international financial institutions, have provided Ukraine to help protect its economy amid Russian pressure in recent years. “
The United States issued Ukraine three separate $1 billion dollar sovereign loan guarantees — which ensures that the borrower will pay the loan and interest back 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 played a critical role in helping Ukraine successfully stabilize its economy amid previous Russian aggression and implement a bold economic reform agenda underpinned by ambitious cooperation with the International Monetary Fund,” Blinken said.
In addition, The State Department said the Export-Import Bank of the United States plans to free up $3 billion “to facilitate procurement of U.S. goods and services for projects in Ukraine.”
“We are exploring additional ways to support Ukraine and its people, and we will continue to work with Congress to advance these efforts,” Blinken said.
On Monday, Blinken ordered U.S. diplomats to move embassy operations in Ukraine out of the capital of Kiev to the western city of Lviv, less than 50 miles from the border of NATO ally Poland, due to the “dramatic acceleration” of Russia’s military buildup.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told his countrymen Monday that the day purportedly set for an invasion is this Wednesday.
“We are being threatened by a great war, and the date of the invasion has been appointed,” he said, referring to comments from Biden administration officials that an attack could take place sometime this week.
“We are told that Feb. 16 will be the day of attack, but we will make it the Day of Unity,” Zelensky added. “I have already signed the relevant decree. On this day, we will hoist national flags everywhere, and wear blue and yellow ribbons to show the entire world our unity.”
Mykhailo Podoliak, an aide to the Ukrainian leader, later walked back on the president’s comments. He told CNN that Zelensky was being “ironic” a repeating media speculation.