Norway plans $7 billion in aid to Ukraine over five years

UKRAINE-CRISIS-NORWAY:Norway plans $7 billion in aid to Ukraine over five years
UKRAINE-CRISIS-NORWAY:Norway plans $7 billion in aid to Ukraine over five years Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023
By Reuters
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By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO -Norway's prime minister proposed on Monday that his country, a major petroleum exporter, should provide some 75 billion crowns ($7.3 billion) in aid to Ukraine over five years.

The Nordic country has seen its government income swell to record levels following Russia's invasion of Ukraine as the price of gas sold to Europe soared last year.

Stoere, faced with criticism from some countries and parts of the opposition at home for indirectly profiting from the war, announced in late 2022 a plan to give multi-year aid to Ukraine, without saying how much.

In 2023, half the aid would fund military requirements while the rest would go to humanitarian needs, although this split could change in coming years, he said.

"This is the largest aid programme Norway has ever had," Stoere told Reuters, adding that the money would be distributed according to the Ukrainian government's priorities and not necessarily transferred directly to the authorities.

Humanitarian aid would be given to organisations that "have the most experience in delivering humanitarian help", while military aid would be coordinated with U.S. and European allies to "avoid bottlenecks", he said.

"We must ensure we avoid corruption and other misuse, which is an important priority for Ukraine. But it is a country at war right now," he said.

Norway should also give an extra 5 billion crowns in aid this year to poor countries suffering from soaring global food prices in the wake of the Ukraine war, Stoere said.

Stoere's minority government must seek parliament's approval, which will increase the annual spending of Norway's $1.4 trillion wealth fund.

The main opposition Conservative Party broadly backed the plan, subject to final negotiations in coming weeks.

"Broadly, with the structure they propose, they will get our support," Conservative Leader Erna Solberg told Reuters.

In 2022, Norway became Europe's largest gas supplier due to a drop in Russian gas flows. It is also Europe's second-largest oil producer after Russia.

Inflows to the wealth fund from the state's petroleum revenues swelled last year to the tune of 1.1 trillion crowns or $108 billion - nearly three times the previous record, set in 2008.

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