Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a Thursday night address lashed out at the European Union for what he called an “artificial delay” of 8 billion euros (or about $8.2BN) in financial assistance to the war-ravaged country.
In the remarks he stopped short of naming specific countries and leaders, but in an August 1st phone call he reportedly put pressure on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to help release the aid, which makes up the EU second tranche of macro-financial assistance pledged to Ukraine.
Zelensky blames a European country, which he doesn’t want to name, for suspending 8 billion Euros of financial aid to Ukraine.
“Let’s believe that this is still a mistake,” he adds menacingly. “And that it will be corrected.” 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/liL13y5fW4
— from_kherson (@KhersonFrom) August 5, 2022
It was a rare moment that Zelensky made the brazen and aggressive allegations against the very Western countries that continue to prop up and arm his government amid the continued Russian military onslaught in the East and South.
Zelensky said in the denunciation, “Every day and in various ways, I remind some leaders of the European Union that Ukrainian pensioners, our displaced persons, our teachers and other people who depend on budget payments cannot be held hostage to their indecision or bureaucracy.”
“8 billion euros for Ukraine are currently suspended,” he continued, and then charged: “And such an artificial delay of macro-financial assistance to our state is either a crime or a mistake, and it is difficult to say which is worse in such conditions of a full-scale war.”
Starting in May, EU leaders vowed to provide “up to €9 billion” to Ukraine, yet only a fraction of that at this point – €1 billion in loans – has been disbursed so far. But since then there’s been inter-EU turmoil over just how to provide those enormous funds to a country already in deep debt and racking up a $5 billion-a-month deficit during the war.
Politico details of the latest:
A new draft proposal by the European Commission would provide €8 billion in financial aid to Ukraine through a mix of grants and loans, two EU officials told POLITICO Friday.
The EU would disburse up to €5 billion as long-term loans leveraged on the back of guarantees provided by EU countries, according to their contribution to the bloc’s budget. Interest payments would be subsidized by the EU’s budget. The remaining amount, around €3 billion, would be provided as grants, the officials said.
The new draft proposal comes after Germany refused to provide guarantees to back up to €9 billion in loans for Ukraine. Berlin argued that grants are better suited to help Kyiv — which is already heavily in debt — and pointed to its own bilateral grant of €1 billion.
It seems that without doubt Zelensky and his administration would desire what’s tantamount to “free money” rather than long-term loans. It seems his harsh accusations dubbing the hold-up in funding as “either a crime or a mistake” is intended to pressure European holdouts.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic…