Ukraine to get $1.7bn in new aid to pay healthcare workers

The United States has sent some $7.3bn in aid to Ukraine since its invasion by Russia began in late February.

An anaesthesiologist and a nurse prepare a Ukrainian soldier for surgery in a hospital, amid Russia's invasion, in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine
Health workers who have remained in Ukraine do their jobs under dire circumstances [File: Marko Djurica/Reuters]

Ukraine is getting an additional $1.7bn in assistance from the United States government and the World Bank to pay the salaries of its beleaguered healthcare workers and provide other essential services.

The money coming Tuesday from the US Treasury Department, the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is meant to alleviate the acute budget deficit caused by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brutal war of aggression”, USAID said in a statement.

While many medical staffers have left Ukraine, some hospitals have shut down and other hospitals have been bombed. The health workers who remain in Ukraine do their jobs under dire circumstances.

Viktor Liashko, Ukraine’s minister of health, said paying health workers’ salaries is becoming more difficult each month “due to the overwhelming burden of war”.

“$1.7 billion is not just yet another financial support; it is an investment that makes us a step closer to victory,” Liashko said in a statement.

To date, USAID has given $4bn in budgetary support to the Ukrainian government. These funds have been used for keeping gas and electricity flowing to hospitals and schools, getting humanitarian supplies to citizens and paying the salaries of civil servants and teachers, the organisation said.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power said that as Putin’s “assault on Ukraine’s public services continues, the US is rushing in with financial support to help the government keep the lights on, provide essential services to innocent citizens and pay the healthcare workers who are providing life-saving support on the front lines.”

Last week, the administration of US President Joe Biden said it will send another $400m in military equipment to Ukraine, the 15th package of military weapons and equipment transferred to Ukraine from US Department of Defense stocks since last August.

This new set of funds will be used for humanitarian purposes.

“This aid will help Ukraine’s democratic government provide essential services for the people of Ukraine,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a written statement.

Yellen said the money would “reach those who need it most at the front lines of Putin’s brutal and illegal war.”

Overall, the US has sent about $7.3bn in aid to Ukraine since the war began in late February.

Source: AP