NEWS: Ukraine
World Bank approves $723 million in financial assistance.

The World Bank has approved $723 mil­lion (£551 mil­lion) in loans and grants for Ukraine as the coun­try bat­tles a Russ­ian invasion.

The bank said it was con­tin­u­ing to work on anoth­er $3 bil­lion sup­port pack­age in the com­ing months for the country.

It also pledged addi­tion­al assis­tance to neigh­bor­ing coun­tries host­ing more than 1.7 mil­lion refugees, most­ly women, chil­dren and the elderly.

The financ­ing pack­age for Ukraine includes a $100 mil­lion pledge from the Unit­ed Kingdom.

“The World Bank Group is tak­ing swift action to sup­port Ukraine and its peo­ple in the face of extreme vio­lence and dis­rup­tion caused by the Russ­ian inva­sion,” said the bank’s pres­i­dent, David Mal­pass, in a statement.

The bank said the funds would help the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment pro­vide essen­tial ser­vices, includ­ing salaries for hos­pi­tal employ­ees, pen­sions for the elder­ly and social pro­grams for the vulnerable.

The pack­age includes a $350 mil­lion loan, aug­ment­ed by about $139 mil­lion in guar­an­tees from the Nether­lands and Sweden.

It also includes $134 mil­lion in grants from Britain, Den­mark, Latvia, Lithua­nia and Ice­land, and $100 mil­lion in fund­ing from Japan.

Mal­pass told the BBC last week that the war was “a cat­a­stro­phe” for the world that will reduce glob­al eco­nom­ic growth.

“The war in Ukraine comes at a bad time for the world because infla­tion was already ris­ing,” he said.

He stressed that his biggest con­cern was “the loss of pure human life.”

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