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World Bank preparing ways to support Ukraine as fallout assessed

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A participant stands near a logo of World Bank at the International Monetary Fund – World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018. REUTERS/Johannes P. Christo/File Photo

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank and International Monetary Fund said on Thursday they were working to keep their remaining employees in Ukraine safe amid a Russian invasion while the institutions’ leaders said the conflict was greatly raising economic risk in the region.

“Most of our staff have already relocated outside Ukraine. Some staff remain in Ukraine for extenuating personal and family reasons,” World Bank President David Malpass said in an internal staff memo seen by Reuters.

“We will continue to identify options for those who have decided to not leave the country at this point.”

A spokesperson for the IMF said the fund had been in contact with remaining local staff in the country, and said that as of now they were safe and accounted for. The IMF said last week that its Ukraine resident representative, Armenian national Vahram Stepanyan, had relocated outside the country.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a tweet on Thursday that she was “deeply concerned” about the conflict in Ukraine. She added, “This adds significant economic risk for the region & the world.

“We are assessing the implications & stand ready to support our members as needed,” Georgieva said, echoing comments she made earlier this month.

Malpass said in a tweet that he was “deeply saddened and horrified by the devastating developments in Ukraine, which will have far-reaching economic and social impacts.”

Malpass told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Saturday that the bank was preparing a $350 million disbursement to Ukraine for budget support by the end of March.

On Thursday he said the World Bank “is preparing options for large support to the people of Ukraine and the region, including immediate budget support.”

World Bank, IMF say they are working to keep Ukraine staff safe

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