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Justice minister: Ukraine willing to accept loans if necessary to secure US aid

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 13, 2024 8:27 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's Justice Minister Denys Maliuska.
Ukraine's Justice Minister Denys Maliuska addresses journalists at the end of a meeting of the G7 Justice Ministers on Nov. 29, 2022, in Berlin. (John Macdougall/AFP via Getty Images)
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Ukraine would likely be willing to accept U.S. assistance partially in loans if it were necessary to expedite further funds for Ukraine, Justice Minister Denys Maliuska said on March 13, Reuters reported.

Aid for Ukraine has been stuck in the U.S. Congress since autumn 2023. The U.S. Senate on Feb. 13 passed a $95 billion foreign aid bill that includes $60 billion for Ukraine, as well as funds for Israel and other allies, but House Speaker Mike Johnson has so far refused to put it to a vote in the House of Representatives.

Some House Republicans are reportedly working on another version of the bill that would treat the nonmilitary portion of the package as a loan in hopes of winning support from more hesitant lawmakers.

Maliuska told journalists in Washington that Kyiv would prefer receiving the support as a grant but would likely accept a loan as well. He stressed that the final decision would rest with the Finance Ministry.

"If this sort of discussion will delay the process of the provision of financial assistance, then let's put the discussion aside and take whatever is given," the minister said.

Maliuska said he met with a number of U.S. lawmakers during his trip to the U.S. capital, who were "quite optimistic" about the assistance for Ukraine eventually passing Congress.

"What we call for is to put aside any divisions or political disputes aimed at internal needs since we see that in both camps - Republicans and Democrats - they all agree that support shall be provided," Maliuska commented.

The Ukrainian minister did not meet Speaker Johnson, who remains the main obstacle to passing the bill. Several high-ranking U.S. officials voiced confidence that aid would be approved with overwhelming support if actually put to a vote.

A possible way to bypass the House speaker is the so-called "discharge petition," which could force the vote without Johnson's approval. Democrats and Republicans have launched two separate petitions on different versions of the aid bill.

The Democratic-led petition has gathered 177 signatures, the other one 14 as of March 13. In order to be successful, they need to gather 218 signatures.

US announces $300 million defense aid package for Ukraine
This is the first package since last December, as U.S. funds for Kyiv have been blocked by disputes in Congress.
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