Biden announces new U.S. special representative for Ukraine's economic recovery

President Joe Biden announced Thursday he's appointing former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker as U.S. Special Representative to Ukraine. She will drive the U.S. effort to rebuild Ukraine's war-ravaged economy. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

Sept. 14 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden announced Thursday he is appointing Penny Pritzker as new U.S. special representative for Ukraine's Economic Recovery.

"As we take this next step to help Ukraine forge a stronger future, we remain steadfastly committed to helping it defend its freedom today," Biden said in a statement. "The brave people of Ukraine have inspired the world with their resilience and resolve, and as this announcement reaffirms, the United States remains committed to stand with them, for as long as it takes."

Pritzker is the former commerce secretary with strong familial ties to Ukraine. Biden said she brings decades of experience and expertise to this new position.

"Working in lockstep with the Ukrainian government, our allies and partners, international financial institutions, and the private sector, she will drive the United States' efforts to help rebuild the Ukrainian economy," Biden's statement said.

Pritzker will work to mobilize public and private investment in Ukraine and to re-open export markets and businesses forced to shut down by Russia's destructive military attack.

Part of her job will also be to work with Ukraine's other international partners, including the G7 to "ensure that international efforts are complementary and mutually reinforcing, as well as to encourage international partners to keep stepping up their support for Ukraine's immediate economic recovery needs."

On Wednesday European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen renewed the EU commitment to Ukraine as she addressed the European Parliament in her State of the Union address.

She said the EU will continue to be at Ukraine's side "every step of the way for as long as it takes" as the country prepares for admission into the EU.

She pledged a further $53.7 billion to Ukraine over four years for investment and reforms, in addition to $12.9 billion this year to pay wages and pensions to help bolster Ukraine's war ravaged economy.

In April Ukraine secured $200 million from the World Bank to shore up Ukraine's energy sector as economic data showed Ukraine's gross domestic product fell by 29.1% in 2022 due to Russia's invasion.

According to the White House, Pritzker will help Ukraine's government make needed reforms to strengthen its economy with the goal of making sure as Ukraine rebuilds, it rebuilds stronger.