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US pushes for $50 billion loan to Ukraine using frozen Russian assets ahead of G7 summit |


Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at a state dinner held in his honor by French President Emmanuel Macron (not pictured), at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France June 8, 2024.



CNN
 — 

US officials are racing against the clock to finalize an agreement that could provide some $50 billion in loans to Ukraine using profits from frozen Russian assets – a top priority ahead of President Joe Biden’s meeting with G7 leaders in Italy this week – but the seven nations have yet to reach a final consensus, according to sources familiar with the US’s preparation ahead of the summit.

The Biden administration has been leading a campaign to persuade leaders of the fellow G7 nations – the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – to sign off on a plan that it views as vital to giving Ukraine a shot at turning around its prospects on the battlefield as it continues to fend off the Russian assault.

The ultimate goal, sources said, is to iron out some of the thorniest financing details in the coming days so that an agreement can be announced as part of the G7 leaders’ communiqué this week. But questions about the modalities of such a program – including the precise form of disbursement and repayment assurances, among others – are still in the process of being worked out.

US officials argue that the dire situation for Ukraine makes the approval of such a loan deeply urgent. Even if the details behind what officials hope could amount to up to a $50 billion loan package have not yet been finalized, the G7 nations are in agreement on the urgency of the moment – and Ukraine’s desperate need for a lifeline.

The world’s richest economies coming together behind such a plan would send a stark message to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, US officials say, that Russia will not outlast the US and its allies’ continued support for Ukraine.

“This is a priority for the United States. We believe it’s a priority for the entire G7,” Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters last week. “We want to see every country come on board with a method by which we can mobilize resources for Ukraine at scale so that they are able to have what they need to be able to succeed in this war.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will be present at the G7 gathering to once again press for more assistance on the global stage.

Biden’s upcoming trip to Italy will come on the heels of his multi-day visit to France, where the US’ support for Ukraine’s war efforts emerged as a major theme. Biden met with Zelensky as his administration announced a $225 million security assistance package for Ukraine.

As he vowed that the US is “not going to walk away from you,” Biden publicly apologized this week to Zelensky for Congress’ months-long delay in approving additional American assistance for Ukraine. The delay, US officials have said in recent months, undoubtedly resulted in Ukraine losing valuable ground on the battlefield.

“I apologize for the weeks of not knowing what’s going to pass, in terms of funding, because we had trouble getting the bill that we had to pass that had the money from some of our very conservative members who were holding it up, but we got it done,” Biden told his Ukrainian counterpart.



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