AS UKRAINE enters a third year of war, the international development agency Christian Aid says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) should suspend surcharge payments on Kyiv’s outstanding loans so money can be better directed to pay for urgent humanitarian needs instead.

The charity, which has been operating in Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022, says the UK government could take the lead in making this happen as governments are due to discuss the IMF’s surcharge policy this spring. Without sustained funding, it is feared many of the humanitarian projects that have supported millions of displaced people could be at risk.

Iryna Dobrohorska, Christian Aid’s Country Response Director in Ukraine, said: “We have seen the huge difference our work has made right across Ukraine. But if world leaders are to continue to be serious about supporting Ukraine, then they should ensure the interest payments to the IMF are instead used for humanitarian purposes.

“There is a long way to go to support people overcoming the psychological traumas created by the war. For as long as it is needed, we put the humanitarian support needed in the hands of the crisis-affected people who know how best to meet the challenges they face.”

For two years, Christian Aid has helped around one million people in Ukraine by working through local partners with funding from several donors, including the UK’s Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC). It aims to reach many more by the time its projects are completed later this year.

The IMF’s surcharge policy has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, as many developing countries, civil society organisations and UN experts are increasingly calling attention to how it can undermine the ability of governments to protect human rights during times of crisis.

* Read the UN letter to the  IMF here.

* Source: Christian Aid