War in Ukraine: World Bank approves $723m financial package

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

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

It also promised extra help for neighbouring countries that are taking in more than 1.7m refugees, which are mostly women, children and the elderly.

The financial package for Ukraine includes a $100m pledge from the UK.

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

The bank said the funds would help Ukraine’s government provide critical services, including wages for hospital workers, pensions for the elderly and social programmes for the vulnerable.

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

It is also made up of $134m in grants from Britain, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland, as well as $100m of financing from Japan.

Last week, Mr Malpass told the BBC that the war was “a catastrophe” for the world which will cut 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 “about the pure human loss of lives”.

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