The United States remains firmly committed to supporting Ukraine as it works to establish security, restore economic stability, strengthen the rule of law, advance the fight against corruption, and carry out democratic and constitutional reforms. The United States stands with the Ukrainian people and their choice of democracy, reform, and European integration.
In pursuit of these objectives, Vice President Joe Biden announced today in Kyiv, Ukraine that, pending approval from Congress, the White House will commit $20 million to support comprehensive reform in the Ukrainian law enforcement and justice sectors, including prosecutorial and anti-corruption reforms. The Vice President also announced that the U.S. will be directing an additional $3 million to the UN World Food Program emergency operation in Ukraine for food rations and assistance to people displaced by the conflict in eastern Ukraine and other vulnerable populations.
Including these announcements, the U.S. government has now committed nearly $320 million in assistance to Ukraine this year, in addition to the $1 billion sovereign loan guarantee issued in May 2014. The United States stands ready to continue to work with our partners to provide Ukraine with sufficient financing as it stabilizes its economy and carries out urgently needed reforms.
The United States will continue to work with Congress to identify additional opportunities for U.S. assistance to Ukraine. For example, the Administration has requested from Congress an additional $45 million as part of the President's European Reassurance Initiative that would help build Ukraine's capacity to provide for its own defense and increase interoperability with U.S. and Western forces.
Examples of U.S. assistance to Ukraine in response to the crisis include the following:
Economic Stabilization, Reform, and Growth
- Ukraine issued a $1 billion sovereign bond fully guaranteed by the United States in May 2014. The U.S. loan guarantee was part of a coordinated international effort to ensure Ukraine has the resources it needs, providing $27 billion to Ukraine as it implements its IMF program. With the support of the proceeds raised by the loan guarantee, Ukraine is implementing a new social protection program to compensate approximately 2 million vulnerable households for increases in gas and heating tariffs.
- Immediately following Ukraine's change in government in March, the U.S. government deployed advisors to help stabilize the financial sector and implement key reforms in partnership with the Ukrainian Finance Ministry and National Bank. These advisors support a range of reforms related to issues such as banking supervision, public sector debt management, infrastructure finance, and taxation.
- U.S. assistance also is supporting policy changes that will lay the groundwork for growth in important sectors of the Ukrainian economy. For example, we are helping Ukrainian authorities to carry out reforms that will boost private sector investment in agriculture, improve access to credit and capital investment for farmers, and streamline agricultural sector regulation.
- The United States is also contributing to international programs, including through the EBRD and the OECD, to support increased access to finance for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and to help Ukraine implement the reforms it needs to attract international investment.
Security Sector Capacity Building and Reform
- The U.S. government has committed over $118 million in equipment and training to Ukraine's security forces to help Ukraine better monitor and secure its border, operate more safely and effectively, and preserve and enforce its territorial integrity. Ukraine's security forces include their Armed Forces, State Border Guard Service, and National Guard.
- This assistance includes the provision of body armor, helmets, vehicles, night and thermal vision devices, heavy engineering equipment, advanced radios, patrol boats, rations, tents, counter-mortar radars, uniforms, first aid equipment and supplies, and other related items.
- The United States has also begun a process led by U.S. European Command and Department of Defense civilian and military experts to work with Ukraine to improve its capacity to provide for its own defense and set the stage for longer-term defense cooperation. This includes medical and security assistance advisory teams.
National Unity, Democracy, Human Rights, and Media
- The United States has contributed funding and personnel to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) that is monitoring and providing daily reporting, particularly in the conflict regions in the east.
- During Ukraine's presidential and parliamentary elections this year, U.S. assistance supported the work of international and domestic election observers as well as efforts to strengthen election administration, voter education, election security, and independent media.
- U.S. assistance is also supporting Ukrainian constitutional reform efforts that will drive decentralization and help Ukraine meet European constitutional standards.
- The U.S. government is supporting civil society organizations to engage in public outreach, participate in the government reform process, and monitor and defend human rights.
- We are also providing assistance to boost the capacity of independent media outlets to provide unbiased information and to increase access to information in all parts of Ukraine.
- The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) launched Russian-language television news programs airing in Ukraine that are produced by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/FL) and the Voice of America (VOA) as well as a multi-language RFE/RL website devoted to events in Crimea.
- In addition to the new rule-of-law-related assistance announced by the Vice President, the United States is working closely with Ukrainian authorities and others in the international community to help recover stolen assets, including through joint investigative activities as well as support for evidence collection and processing activities.
- We are also helping Ukrainian officials develop laws and regulations that will establish anti-corruption institutions within the government and enable authorities to combat corruption more effectively. Through support for expanded e-governance and procurement reform, we are also working with Ukrainian authorities to limit opportunities for corruption.
- We are also contributing to international efforts, including through the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), to corruption and improve Ukraine's business climate.
- The U.S. government is working with other international donors to help Ukraine develop strategies to ensure that energy subsidy programs are targeting the most vulnerable Ukrainians and to increase end-use energy efficiency, including among households and in the industrial sector. A new program will accelerate new investments in energy efficiency.
- We are supporting Ukrainian efforts to enhance its own energy production, including through technical assistance to help restructure Ukraine's national oil and gas company, Naftogaz, and through the introduction of new technologies to boost outputs from existing and new conventional gas fields in Ukraine.
- In collaboration with other experts, U.S. government advisors are providing technical assistance to the Government of Ukraine to develop a national energy contingency plan for this winter and into 2015.
Humanitarian Assistance and Early Recovery
- The U.S. government is contributing to the work in Ukraine of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), and non-governmental organizations.
- These contributions, with the additional assistance announced by the Vice President today, will total more $15 million to date and support Ukrainian efforts to ensure adequate reception of internally displaced persons (IDP) as well as to facilitate IDP returns when security conditions allow, including through the provision of food, cash, hygiene kits, medicines, and domestic and winter items. We are also supporting efforts to address the humanitarian needs of vulnerable populations in Luhansk and Donetsk through support for emergency activities including the procurement and distribution of safe drinking water and relief commodities, winterization kits, and other items needed to survive the winter.
- The U.S. government is also providing immediate support for economic recovery, small infrastructure repair, and restoration of public services in conflict-affected areas in the east.
Trade Diversification and Promotion
- The U.S. government is providing training and technical assistance to build Ukraine's expertise on World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations and rights and how to meet WTO food safety standards.
- The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is convening the U.S.-Ukraine Trade and Investment Council to support Ukraine's efforts to boost bilateral trade and investment and combat intellectual property theft.
- U.S. assistance is supporting efforts to help SMEs access new international markets. This includes plans for a U.S.-Ukraine agribusiness trade mission to promote two-way trade between our countries.