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Biden Comes to the Aid of Ukraine with $40 Billion Package

Biden Comes to the Aid of Ukraine with $40 Billion Package

 


Vice President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Seoul on Wednesday, announcing that the United States would send $40 billion in financial aid to Ukraine over the next two years, as well as technical support, to strengthen its energy and economic infrastructure after Russia’s annexation of Crimea last month. 


The measures were meant to help stabilize the country in the wake of political upheaval caused by months of pro-Western demonstrations in Kyiv and Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. The U.S.


On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden came


To Korea’s defense in a speech before Seoul’s Foreign Correspondents Club. Biden assured South Koreans that Washington would support their country if it were attacked, but warned North Korea not to try anything stupid. 


We and our allies are fully prepared for any contingency, he said, according to Yonhap News Agency.


 But he also emphasized that Washington expects Beijing—which remains Pyongyang's ally and only significant trading partner—to continue enforcing sanctions against its neighbor. It is very important for [China] to succeed, he said.


The new funding also ensures America's commitment to helping Ukraine chart its own path forward as a sovereign nation.


The United States provided more than $1 billion in loan guarantees and non-lethal assistance to support Ukraine's democratic elections earlier in 2014. 


This new aid is on top of nearly $1 billion in economic assistance provided by President Obama since May 2014. 


These efforts, which also included targeted sanctions against Russia for its activities in Crimea, are intended to support reforms that will improve transparency and strengthen government institutions.


 They also send a powerful message about America's strong support for Ukrainian sovereignty and independence.


It won't be easy, he said, urging government leaders to make reforms so Ukrainians can stand on their own feet.


The question is, are you ready? Biden said. Are you willing to work hard? Are you willing to fight corruption and fight for your country? That's what it's going to take. 


The U.S. has been urging reforms in Ukraine since pro-Western protests forced Yanukovych from power in February. 


Many Ukrainians were angered by Yanukovych's decision last fall not to sign an agreement that would have brought a free trade pact with Europe, opting instead for closer ties with Russia. 


Putin then announced a plan to buy $15 billion worth of Ukrainian government bonds and cut its gas prices by about one-third. 


Now, there's concern Putin may be trying to exert even more influence over Ukraine as he faces off against sanctions imposed by Western countries after his annexation of Crimea earlier this year. 


But it was unclear how much money Ukraine could actually get right away. Even if Congress approves all the money requested, lawmakers would still need to appropriate funds every year until 2017 — something they've never done before for such aid packages.


(Reforms) represent the key components of our shared vision for an independent, sovereign and democratic Ukraine – self-governing, economically vibrant, secure and at peace within its borders.


The aid package will support economic and political reforms in Ukraine by providing technical assistance, and training for Ukrainian government officials, members of parliament,, and civil society leaders. 


Support for these efforts will help lay a foundation for long-term growth and stability in support of democratic institutions. 


We must also continue to confront corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery. A prosperous, democratic and secure Ukraine is key not only to Europe’s future but alsoto  America’s. – President Obama


We are absolutely committed to bringing you freedom from fear and freedom from want.


We are absolutely committed to bringing you freedom from fear and freedom from want, Biden said in a speech at Kyiv's independence square on Wednesday. 


The Vice President also said that Washington would provide more than USD 1 billion in new aid, together with IMF funding. 


A lot of people are very pleased about what we're doing, because we know how to do it, and everybody is going to get some help. 


Biden added that hundreds of millions will be invested in energy infrastructure and rural roads; new money will go into increasing security for all citizens as well as helping reform anti-corruption institutions. 


However, one of his main concerns was Russia I do not believe Putin has any intention of invading eastern Ukraine... Russia is busy trying to rebuild an empire, he said.


It's more than just about economics. It's about thinking like an owner, he said.


We are at a historic moment, in what is still, for all its turmoil and conflict, an economically growing part of Europe. 


And I think we have a chance—and it’s not just about economics. It’s about thinking like an owner. One of my favorite quotes is from Ovid who wrote The world is yours; you can do what you want. 


But if you don’t understand how decisions get made in your business and in your life, how can you expect that decisions will be made in your favor? 


So I really hope that some good comes out of these meetings and discussions today.


Asked whether it was really realistic to expect reform when corruption remained deeply entrenched in many areas, Biden said that change would require sticking together over time.


Somebody’s got to stick by you, and your administration and ours will, he said. The most critical thing is that you have to stay focused on it. 


He added: You’re going to need international support at every step of the way. Without it, he said, you’re not going anywhere in terms of making sure that there is money for reforms and for institution building — all those good things. 


You can’t do it alone. And you know what? No one should be asking you or expecting you to do it alone. 


Speaking about corruption, Biden told Poroshenko: My father used to say, 'If we can’t end corruption we are doomed.

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