Kiev is facing a deficit of at least $29 billion in next year’s budget, Sergey Marchenko has said
Insufficient financial aid for Ukraine will plunge the country into a crisis that could “spill over” into the EU, Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko has warned.
The minister made the remarks to Politico on Monday ahead of an upcoming vote on the 2024 budget in the country’s parliament. The budget will have a hole of at least $29 billion should further support from Kiev’s Western backers not arrive, Marchenko admitted.
“Preservation of macroeconomic stability is quite important, because in addition to the war we would have an economic crisis. If Ukraine will be in crisis, you will have spillover effects in the EU,” he stated.
“Consequences of an economic crisis would be very, very traumatic not only for Ukraine but for all of Europe because it can cause effects also for Europe because of migration, because of spillover effect, because of huge increase in prices around Europe, specifically on some food commodities, on possible oil and gas again,” the minister asserted.
Marchenko also reiterated Kiev’s desire to get its hands on the Russian assets frozen in the West early in the ongoing conflict that are estimated to be worth at least $300 billion. While Kiev has long called for the assets to be seized and transferred to Ukraine, the West has thus far not come up with a mechanism to make such a move legal.
“It’s a rightful priority for Ukraine to get these Russian frozen assets for reconstruction of Ukraine,” he stated.
Marchenko brushed off the growing calls for anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine, stating that while the matter may be “discussed,” international aid should not somehow be tied to the corruption issue.
“We are ready to discuss but we are not ready for the fact that it could cause a delay in providing support to Ukraine. We need money from the beginning of next year,” he stressed.
Early in October, Politico reported that Washington was “far more worried about corruption in Ukraine than they publicly admit.” The magazine cited a sensitive document it had obtained suggesting that the widespread graft in Ukraine could ultimately force Western allies to abandon Kiev in its fight with Russia.
In the meantime, a new funding request from the administration of US President Joe Biden to secure more than $60 billion for Ukraine met strong opposition from Republicans in Congress. Some GOP lawmakers called upon the president for more accountability and also to clarify what he ultimately seeks to get from the prolonged hostilities between Kiev and Moscow.