G7 to fill Ukraine funding gap, says German finance minister

BONN, Germany — G7 nations will likely fill Ukraine’s short-term financing needs, estimated at $15 billion, at a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers hosted by Germany, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said Thursday morning.

“We feel responsible for the capability of the Ukrainian state and its people to defend themselves,” he said, speaking ahead of the meeting. “We see [a figure of] double digit billion euros which are needed for the foreseeable future, the next months, and I’m quite optimistic that we will be able at this G7 meeting to raise the funding which allows Ukraine to defend itself over the next months.”

Ukraine isn’t only defending its independence but Western values, Lindner said. Accordingly, officials from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Japan will discuss “what needs to be done in this historic moment to ensure the Ukrainian state can continue to function.”

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal will address the G7 gathering via video, Lindner added.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that Ukraine needs $5 billion per month to pay salaries, pensions, and generally keep its economy afloat, or $15 billion over three months. The EU will contribute €9 billion toward that total, the Commission announced Wednesday, with the money raised by issuing debt on the back of guarantees provided by EU countries.

Other G7 members, like the U.S., have already pledged support, and Washington has invited others to chip in.

“I sincerely ask all our partners to join us in increasing their financial support to Ukraine,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said earlier this week.

Lindner also expressed confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t achieve his goals. Instead, the Russian leader has produced almost unprecedented “international cooperation and readiness for global partnership … and that gives reason for optimism that we can also manage other challenges … together,” added Lindner.

Other issues to be taken up by ministers include climate change, digital transformation and economic stabilization. In addition, “we will be talking about some common framework on debt treatment,” said Lindner.

“The situation of the low income states poses a risk for global food security and the stability of the international financial system,” he added.