Russian President Vladimir Putin is intending to use winter as a weapon of war, declared U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power. By increasingly targeting civilian infrastructure, Russia’s forces threaten to leave hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians without heat and electricity in the coldest months of the year. In an effort to help the Ukrainian people defend against such tactics, she announced during her recent visit an additional $55 million dollars to help keep Ukrainians warm this winter.
This support, said Administrator Power, will help up to seven million Ukrainians get urgently needed heat this winter. “We know more is needed and we're working with other countries, other donors, to look at this critical issue of energy, electricity, and gas this winter.”
Administrator Power met with Ukrainian farmers whose lands had been occupied by Russian forces and then liberated, who found their farm equipment either pilfered, stolen, or destroyed, and who found their farmlands and their homes mined. She also met with farmers who harvested their crops and until the UN-Turkish Black Sea deal was brokered, had no way of getting their wheat out of the country. USAID announced several months ago the AGRI-Ukraine initiative, which is a $100 million program to support Ukrainian farmers as they seek to move more grains by land, rail, and river.
This AGRI-Ukraine program is vitally important to help Ukraine get back on its feet, even as it is still pursuing victory on the battlefield. The Ukrainian economy can't await the formal end of this conflict, warned Administrator Power. Ukrainian teachers, civil servants, shopkeepers, and professionals of all kinds want to be working here and now. And the tax revenues that they will pay are a critical part of getting Ukraine back on its feet.
“My bottom line message here is the same,” declared Administrator Power, “the United States, we the American people, stand with the people of Ukraine in their hour of need. And we will stand with the Ukrainian people for as long as it takes. We recognize the difficulties, the horrors that are being inflicted on the people of this great country for no reason whatsoever. And we want to do everything in our power to help our partners on the ground get through, not only this winter, but so many aspects of this man-made crisis.”