Treasury Secretary Makes Surprise Visit to Ukraine

February 27, 2023

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen made an unannounced visit to Kyiv, Ukraine on Monday.

The surprise trip by Yellen was meant to reinforce the Biden Administration’s support and highlight the economic aid the U.S. has provided Ukraine as Russia attacks its infrastructure, including schools, hospitals and essential services. 

Yellen’s visit came one week after President Biden has made a surprise visit to Kyiv, to mark Friday’s being one year to the day that Russia invaded Ukraine.

Upon her arrival, the New York Times published an editorial by Yellen, in which she said, “Most Americans understand the importance of our critical security support: tanks, ammunition, and air defense systems that equip Ukraine’s front lines. But there has been less public attention on the foundational role that our economic assistance plays in supporting Ukraine’s resistance.”

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, between January 24, 2022 and January 15, 2023, the United States has provided Ukraine with an estimated  $28.5 billion in humanitarian and financial aid. That does not include the tens of billions the U.S. has provided in security assistance and weaponry.

The Treasury Secretary’s visit also follows Biden’s having cautioned China against any thoughts it has to provide lethal weapons to Russia. Biden said last week that the U.S. “would respond” to any such act with consequences, including in the form of economic sanctions against China.

On Friday, the U.S. announced billions of dollars’ worth of sweeping new sanctions against Russia targeting some 250 individuals and businesses.

According to the U.S. Treasury, in the year since Russia invaded Ukraine, U.S. sanctions have targeted approximately 2,400 individuals and entities, 115 vessels, and 19 aircraft. Further, more than 80% of Russia’s banking sector by assets are under U.S. sanctions, including the top 10 Russian-owned banks.

Yellen added in her Times editorial that in 2023, “a heightened priority will be to disrupt Russia’s attempts to evade sanctions.”

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