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Ukraine needs $750 billion for three-stage recovery plan, leaders tell summit

Ukraine needs 0 billion for three-stage recovery plan, leaders tell summit

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Ukrainian leaders told a major international summit that their devastated country needs $750 billion for a three-stage reconstruction plan following Russia’s full-scale invasion and destruction of its cities and infrastructure.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said on July 4 at the start of the two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, that Kyiv believes a substantial source of funding for the recovery should come through assets confiscated from Russian oligarchs, which he estimated at $300 billion to $500 billion.

“We believe that the key source of recovery should be the confiscated assets of Russia and Russian oligarchs,” he told the conference. “The Russian authorities unleashed this bloody war. They caused this massive destruction, and they should be held accountable for it.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, speaking through a video link from Kyiv, said rebuilding his country is the “common task of the whole democratic world” and would be a service to all nations.

“Reconstruction of Ukraine is the biggest contribution to the support of global peace,” Zelenskiy said.

Some 1,000 people are expected to attend the summit, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Poland.

The conference — with participants from national governments, the private sector, and international organizations — had been planned before Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, with the original agenda to focus on Kyiv’s progress on the path toward governmental reforms.

It is not intended to be a pledging event but instead will focus on setting out the priorities for a rebuilding process set to begin even before the war ends.

Shmygal, in a rare trip outside of Ukraine since the start of the war, said direct damage to infrastructure so far from the Russian attacks amounts to at least $100 billion. He added that Kyiv is planning a three-stage recovery process.

A first stage will be focused on fixing things that affect daily life, such as municipal water supplies.

Second would be a “fast recovery” stage to be launched as soon as fighting ends and would include items such as temporary housing, hospitals, and schools.

A third stage would be aimed at transforming the country over the longer term.

Zelenskiy said the Ukrainian reconstruction plan represented “the most ambitious project of our time.”

“Reconstruction of Ukraine is not a local task of a single nation. It is a common task of the whole democratic world,” he said.

“We are uniting the democratic world…The outlook of free people always prevails.”

Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, co-host of the event, stressed the need to support Ukraine “in this time of horror, wanton destruction, and grief.”

Cassis said it was crucial “to provide the people of Ukraine with the prospect return to a life of self-determination, peace and a bright future.”

Von der Leyen told the conference that “we know their fight is also our fight.”

That is “why we work in these days to help Ukraine to win this war,” she said.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference that Russia needed to be held accountable for the damage caused by its “appalling war.”

“We are looking at options for the deployment of Russian assets,” she said, echoing Shmygal’s comments on the use of oligarch funds.

“At the same time we are doing what we can to get the Ukrainian economy restarted — getting those grain exports out of Odesa, making sure we are supporting Ukrainian industry and business to get going,” she added.

Source: American Military News

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