UK government agrees in principle to demands for cancellation of Ukraine's national debt
Ukrainians and key left figures launch successful campaign to drop Ukraine’s debt
- With a national debt burden of over $94 billion, Ukraine is resisting the Russian invasion with one hand tied behind its back.
- Campaigners demanded that the UK government uses its influence in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cancel Ukraine’s national debt.
- After an urgent question raised by Caroline Lucas MP, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss agreed in principle to the demand.
Another Europe Is Possible jointly with Ukrainian peace activists and a number of MPs launched a successful campaign for the urgent cancellation of Ukraine’s national debt.
The campaign includes an online ‘Write to Your MP’ tool which thousands of constituents have already used. The letter petitions MPs to ask the UK government to demand the cancellation of Ukraine’s national debt. (The ‘Write to Your MP’ tool can be accessed here).
After Caroline Lucas MP raised an urgent question demanding the cancellation of Ukraine’s National Debt, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Liz Truss, appeared to support the principle of Ukraine debt cancellation. The full video of Caroline Lucas MP’s intervention can be viewed here.
Campaigners welcome the UK government’s response. They will now be watching the government’s actions closely to ensure that it delivers on substance. We need an agreement with international partners to cancel the debt. We need to put money on the table:grants, not loans, to support Ukraine.
The campaign is arguing for:
• The UK to work with international partners to cancel the Ukrainian debt. The country will face huge reconstruction costs after the war and cannot be asked to carry this burden.
• Aid not loans. Resources for Ukraine should be supplied on a non-commercial basis. The Mutual Aid Agreement struck by the allies in WW2 could be a model for this.
• The UK to raise this urgently on the Executive Board of the IMF and seek a multi-party international fundraising conference to support Ukraine.
Caroline Lucas MP said:
“Ukraine’s national debt is crippling. As war drags on and the costs of reconstruction mount ever higher, we cannot leave Ukrainians alone to bear the financial brunt.
The UK can offer genuine support to Ukrainians by joining with our international allies to cancel Ukraine’s national debt immediately. Aid, not loans, must be provided to Ukraine on a non-commercial basis. We must stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people.”
Clive Lewis MP said:
“Conservative MPs have loudly proclaimed their support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion. Yet one of the simplest things they could do is call for Ukraine’s immense national debt to be dropped.
Through the International Monetary Fund, the UK and Western countries have the power to cancel large amounts of Ukraine’s $94 billion debt. Instead Ukraine, one of Europe’s poorest countries, is expected to defend itself against Russian aggression with its hands tied behind its back. Ukraine’s national debt must be cancelled now.”
Oleksandra Matviychuk, Head of the Centre for Civil Liberties, said:
“The international community must be firm in its commitment to Ukrainian sovereignty, the protection of human rights and democratic values. Debt cancellation must form part of an urgent package of economic measures to support our legitimate and democratic government and oppose Putin’s deadly campaign against the people of Ukraine.”
Olga Aivazovska, Chair of the Civil Network OPORA, said:
“Putin’s goal is to destroy a sovereign Ukraine and its people who are not ready to submit to a dictator, as the Russians did. Britain’s assistance in defending our country, its financial stability, and recovery, in the long run, will be a worthy strategic investment. The 21st century deserves to be peaceful.”
Mary Kaldor, Professor of Global Governance a LSE said:
“The Ukrainian resistance to Putin’s brutal invasion is astonishing. It needs all the help it can get. Financial support is crucial and that should include debt cancellation so that Ukraine is not burdened with debt servicing and with financial conditionality now and in the future.”
Luke Cooper, Another Europe Is Possible National Committee said:
“We are pleased that the UK government has indicated that it recognises Ukraine needs debt cancellation and urgent economic aid. But the devil is in the detail. We need the UK chancellor to put money on the table and push our international partners in the same direction. Ukraine cannot wait.”