With Ukraine no longer paying for Russian gaz, and with Gazprom making it clear Kiev has to a) first pay the overdue $2+ billion in invoice and then b) prepay some $5 billion in gas until the end of the year of Europe gets it, it was only a matter of time before the US Treasury stepped in and paid off part or all of Gazprom's demands. That time is now, when moments ago Jack Lew announced a $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine - very much the same way that the US provided billions in loan guarnatees for the now long overthrown Mursi regime in Egypt. And in other news, many more "costly" and "damaging" US sanctions are surely headed Russia's way any second now.
From the Treasury:
Treasury Secretary Lew Announces Signing Of $1 Billion U.S. Loan Guarantee Agreement For Ukraine
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced the signing of a $1 billion loan guarantee agreement for Ukraine. This guarantee, when completed, will complement the Government of Ukraine's International Monetary Fund (IMF) reform program and underscores the United States' commitment to Ukraine.
"The Ukrainian people have demonstrated tremendous courage as they have charted an independent course for their country and demanded a government that truly reflects the will of the people. The United States has been at the forefront of building international support for Ukraine, and holding Russia accountable for its violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and destabilizing action," said Secretary Lew in his remarks at the U.S. Treasury Department today. "I would like to congratulate Minister Shlapak on the progress he and his team have made in putting in place a comprehensive economic reform program together with the IMF. The United States very much wants to see Ukraine prosper, and we will continue to stand with the Ukrainian people as they move forward to realize their long-held aspirations."
The $1 billion loan guarantee is part of a U.S. bilateral assistance package that also includes technical assistance to help Ukraine return to a path of economic recovery. This loan guarantee will bolster the Government of Ukraine's ability to provide critical services as it implements reforms, while protecting the most vulnerable Ukrainian households from the impact of the necessary economic adjustment.
Secretary Lew and Ukrainian Finance Minister Oleksandr Shlapak held a bilateral meeting before today's announcement to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine and Ukraine's progress on its economic reform plan.
The United States will continue to urge its international partners to take immediate steps to bolster the IMF assistance package and move forward with bilateral aid and technical assistance.
And the inevitable photo op: