The Ukrainian finance minister, Sergey Marchenko, expressed concern about the challenges Kiev is facing in securing financial support from its Western partners. Marchenko stated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to convince their partners to provide support, as focus is shifting to domestic matters and geopolitical tensions. He noted that compared to the last annual meetings in spring, they have to make twice the effort to secure support.
Marchenko highlighted that many Western countries are distracted by the hostilities between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces, as there are concerns that the conflict could spread and disrupt the global economy. The Middle East region is a crucial supplier of energy and a key shipping hub. Additionally, Marchenko pointed out that next year’s elections in the US and Europe are creating further distractions, leading to less focus on supporting Ukraine.
The finance minister emphasized that Ukraine relies on Western financial support to cover most of its $43 billion budget spending requirements in 2024. They have already received commitments from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) amounting to $5.4 billion, and they are expecting commitments from other countries such as Japan and the United Kingdom. Marchenko stressed that their key partners and allies, the United States and European Union, are crucial for their financial stability.
Apart from seeking financial support, Ukraine is also exploring options to restructure its international debt and secure new financing. However, Marchenko did not provide a specific timeframe for when discussions with private creditors could begin.
In related news, Belgium announced that it would transfer tax revenue worth €1.7 billion generated from Russian assets frozen by the Euroclear clearing house to Ukraine. This decision was discussed during the meetings in Marrakech and may be replicated by other Western states, despite legal concerns. Marchenko interpreted this move as a positive sign that Western states are willing to support Ukraine by handing over Russian assets.
However, Russia strongly opposes using its frozen assets as aid to Ukraine, considering it a violation of international law and outright theft.
In summary, the Ukrainian finance minister expressed concern about the increasing difficulty in securing financial support from Western partners. He attributed this challenge to their focus on domestic matters and geopolitical tensions. Kiev relies heavily on Western support to fulfill its budget spending requirements. Additionally, Belgium’s decision to transfer frozen Russian assets to Ukraine indicates some Western states’ willingness to provide aid. However, Russia opposes this move, considering it against international law.