zelensky asks top finance officials to increase economic support for ukraine

WASHINGTON — President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday called on Western nations to increase their support of Ukraine’s economy and to seize Russian assets to pay for rebuilding Ukraine during a speech to top economic officials.

The plea came as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund gathered in Washington for their spring meeting and as members of the Group of 7 nations met to discuss the effectiveness of their sanctions on Russia and to reinforce their support for Ukraine as the war grinds into its second year. The I.M.F. recently approved a $15.6 billion loan package to buttress the Ukrainian economy.

“The long story of Russian impunity must finally stop,” said Mr. Zelensky, who appeared by video conference and described his country’s fight as being about more than Ukraine’s future. “The world’s potential aggressors are now looking. Will you do the right thing?”

The Biden administration has expressed doubts about the feasibility of repurposing the Russian assets that it has seized or frozen. And the World Bank has estimated that Ukraine will need more than $400 billion over the next 10 years to rebuild its critical infrastructure and that it faces an $11 billion shortfall this year for “critical economic and capital expenditures.”

“It’s important that we focus on what Ukraine needs now,” said David Malpass, the World Bank’s president.

Allies of Ukraine have been debating the best way to provide economic support as the global economy faces significant headwinds and stubbornly high inflation.

The message from Mr. Zelensky to officials in Washington was delivered as Ukraine continued to canvass the world for more aid.

A senior Ukrainian official visiting New Delhi urged India on Wednesday to be on the “right side of the war” and asked for medicines and medical equipment to help rebuild her country’s ravaged health infrastructure.

Emine Dzhaparova, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, expressed her country’s desire to build a strong relationship with New Delhi, a historical ally of Moscow’s. Ms. Dzhaparova is the most senior Ukrainian official to visit India since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February last year.

“Our expectations are quite clear,” Ms. Dzhaparova told a gathering at the Indian Council of World Affairs, a think tank in New Delhi. “We believe that discussion about economy and future economy, the economic situation in the world, is not possible without the discussion about the repercussions of the war of Russia against Ukraine.”

Members of the European Parliament met on a video call on Wednesday with members of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s legislative body, to discuss Kyiv’s progress on its path to E.U. membership as it strives to deepen its ties with the bloc.

In a rebuke to Moscow, the European Union officially made Ukraine a candidate for membership last summer, but it is not expected to join the bloc in the foreseeable future. The move sent a strong signal of solidarity and support for Kyiv, but it was also the beginning of a long journey of painstakingly detailed negotiations.

Ukraine has also been casting a wider net as it seeks to reinforce its supplies of weapons.

The Ukrainian government has made at least two requests to Brazil to purchase a long list of weaponry including armored vehicles, aircraft, air-defense systems, mortar shells, sniper rifles, automatic weapons and ammunition, according to correspondence obtained by The New York Times via Brazil’s public records laws. But Brazil, which relies on Russia for fertilizer and fuel, has made clear that it will not send any weapons destined for the front lines, and is instead pushing to mediate peace talks.

The challenges in aiding Ukraine have put added pressure on the Biden administration, which has been leading the international effort to maintain support for Ukraine, casting its efforts to repel Russia as a matter of economic and national security for the United States and the world.

“We welcome the efforts by our allies and partners to provide significant, predictable and timely assistance, and urge all of us to continue doing so,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said on Wednesday during a discussion about Ukraine that was hosted by the World Bank. “The United States will do what it takes to support Ukraine, for as long as it takes.”

Finance ministers from the Group of 7 met separately on the sidelines of the meetings on Wednesday and discussed ways to prevent Russia from evading Western sanctions and the potential for imposing new measures to put pressure on the Russian economy. They said they would work together to continue corralling support for Ukraine from other countries and the private sector.

“We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine and unity in our condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression,” the finance ministers said in a joint statement released after the meeting.

Monika Pronczuk contributed reporting from Brussels.

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