The US will begin sending an additional $4.5 billion to support the government of Ukraine as it defends itself against the Russian invasion, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Tuesday.
Disbursement of the funds, approved by Congress in September, will begin in the “coming weeks” and will be used to support Ukrainian government services, including wages for hospital workers and government employees, Ms Yellen said.
The additional US funding will be provided through the World Bank.
“In addition to providing economic support, the Treasury Department and US government will continue to use all of our tools, including our historic sanctions coalition, to weaken [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war machine,” Ms Yellen said.
Total US direct budget support to Kyiv now stands at $13 billion. In addition, the US has sent Ukraine about $18 billion in military aid.
The support will also help low-income people, older people, children with disabilities and internally displaced people, and it will provide new housing and utility subsidies over the winter season, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) said in a Tuesday statement.
USAID condemned Mr Putin's “brutal assault” on Ukrainian electricity and heating infrastructure. Half of Ukraine's energy infrastructure is damaged or destroyed, and a quarter of the population is currently without power, the UN says.
With predictions that temperatures will plummet as low as -20˚C in parts of the country, the World Health Organisation warned on Monday that the winter season will be “life threatening” for millions in Ukraine.
“Put simply, this winter will be about survival … Cold weather can kill,” said Dr Hans Henri Kluge, the WHO's regional director for Europe.