Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere says Norway plans to send Ukraine a five-year aid package worth 75 billion kroner ($7.3 billion), almost a year after Russia waged an ongoing war in the ex-Soviet republic.
The pledge by Norway's premier came on Monday as the Nordic country, a major petroleum exporter, significantly boosted its income by exporting natural gas to gas-strapped Europe last year, when the price of gas skyrocketed due to war in Ukraine.
However, Oslo faced criticism from some countries and parts of the opposition at home for indirectly reaping record levels of profits from the current war.
"We are proposing that Norway gives a binding and lasting contribution to Ukraine. We are proposing that 15 billion kroner be given per year to Ukraine for five years, or 75 billion kroner", Stoere told reporters, after presenting the details of the plan to opposition leaders.
The aid package is said to cover humanitarian needs and military requirements for Ukraine and would be divided equally between the two for this year.
"This is the largest aid program Norway has ever had," Stoere further said, adding that the money would be distributed according to Kiev's priorities and not necessarily transferred directly to the authorities.
The Norwegian prime minister also noted that humanitarian aid would be sent to organizations that "have the most experience in delivering humanitarian help", while military aid would be coordinated with American and European allies to "avoid bottlenecks."
"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," Stoere added.
However, being a minority government, the Stoere's administration relies on the support of other parties to pass the bill, meaning that the final amount of the package may be changed by parliament.
Last year, the Nordic country, Europe's second-largest oil producer after Russia, became the continent's largest gas supplier after Moscow indefinitely suspended Europe's gas flow.
Russia launched what it calls "a special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, over the perceived threat of the ex-Soviet republic joining NATO and to "de-Nazify" Kiev. Since then, the United States and Ukraine's other allies have sent Kiev tens of billions of dollars' worth of weapons, including rocket systems, drones, armored vehicles, tanks, and communication systems.
Western countries have also imposed a slew of economic sanctions on Moscow. The Kremlin has said the sanctions and the Western military assistance will only prolong the war.
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