Rebuilding Ukraine could cost $750 billion, says Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukraine War: “The reconstruction of Ukraine is not a local task of one nation,” Zelesnky said.

Kyiv:

Ukraine told an international conference on Monday that it would cost around $750 billion to rebuild the war-torn country, a task President Volodymyr Zelensky said was the shared duty of the democratic world.

Speaking at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Switzerland, Ukraine’s president and a long line of government ministers described the massive destruction and immense need since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on 24 february.

“The reconstruction of Ukraine is not a local task of one nation,” Zelesnky said by video message.

“It is a common task for the whole democratic world”, he declared, insisting on the fact that “the reconstruction of Ukraine is the greatest contribution to the support of world peace”.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told the conference that the recovery “is already estimated at $750 billion”.

“We believe that the main source of recovery should be the confiscated assets of Russia and the Russian oligarchs,” he said, pointing out that “the Russian authorities started this bloody war. They caused this massive destruction, and they should be held accountable.” .

– “Investing in Ukraine” –

The two-day conference, held under tight security in the picturesque southern Swiss city of Lugano, had been planned long before the invasion and was originally meant to discuss reforms in Ukraine before being refocused to focus on the reconstruction.

Shmyhal outlined the government’s phased reconstruction plan, focusing first on the immediate needs of war-affected people, followed by funding for thousands of longer-term reconstruction projects aimed at making Ukraine European, green and digital. .

A number of other ministers, as well as First Lady Olena Zelenska, also spoke at various sessions to outline the situation in the country and outline the massive reconstruction needs, as well as their vision for a new Ukraine.

Wearing a tight black t-shirt, Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov, in charge of digital transformation, gave a presentation remembering late Apple founder Steve Jobs, detailing how the country could become an all-digital democracy .

Energy Minister German Galushchenko meanwhile envisioned a rapid green transformation and said Ukraine was looking to boost its export capacities to help counter the impact of reduced European access to energy. Russian energy.

Appealing to potential investors, he pointed out that the government now has the ability to “make very quick decisions on whatever you need… Invest in Ukraine.”

As billions of dollars in aid pour into Ukraine, lingering concerns about widespread corruption in the country mean far-reaching reforms remain front and center and will be a condition for any decided stimulus package.

Zelensky’s Swiss counterpart and co-organizer of the conference, Ignazio Cassis, stressed that reforms remained at the forefront, with the aim of the meeting being to lay “the foundations for an effective and transparent political process “.

He said this should go through “regulated principles of governance”, as well as clearly defined criteria for the management of assistance and the sharing of roles between Ukraine, states, the international community, civil society and private partners.

The Ukrainians have proposed that allied countries “adopt” specific regions of Ukraine and lead the takeover there to make it more effective.

Britain, for example, has offered to tackle the Kyiv region, while a diplomatic source said France would focus on the heavily affected Chernihiv region.

– Win the peace –

A total of around 1,000 people are attending the conference, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who launched an enthusiastic “Slava Ukraini” (glory to Ukraine) after stressing the importance of rebuilding a better Ukraine than before the war.

“Ukraine can emerge on the path to a stronger and more modern country, with a modernized judicial system, with stronger institutions, with a solid record in the fight against corruption, but also with a greener economy. , more digital and more resilient,” she said.

While the EU is determined to help Ukraine win the war, she said, “we must also ensure that Ukraine wins the peace that is sure to come.”

Lugano is not a conference of advertisers but will rather attempt to define the principles and priorities for a process of reconstruction which should begin even as war rages on.

It will conclude on Tuesday with a declaration from Lugano, which Cassis says will set the “framework for a long-term reconstruction process”.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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