Scale of Ukraine's reconstruction costs revealed
Ukraine is asking foreign donors for hundreds of billions of dollars for reconstruction, with the EU contributing the bulk of the assistance package, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.
A 2,000-page plan for rebuilding the Ukrainian economy is to be presented this week during a conference in the Swiss city of Lugano, the business news outlet said citing anonymous sources.
The EU will reportedly offer over 500 billion euros ($523 billion), the report claimed, and a donors’ conference could be held as soon as November in the Czech Republic, which assumed the rotating half-year EU presidency this month.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will be at the Lugano conference, Bloomberg said. She will be presenting the EU-led bid to raise money from potential donors like G7 members, multilateral organizations, Switzerland and Norway, the sources told Bloomberg, adding that the EU will probably borrow to cover the expenses, similar to how it raised funds for the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ukraine was offered EU candidate status last month in what European officials said was a largely symbolic gesture to encourage Kiev as it fights against Russia. Many in Kiev perceive it as a major step towards joining the union and are discussing the benefits that their country could reap as a full member.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said they should follow Poland’s example on how to get subsidies from the joint EU budget. Warsaw “learned to take European money and spent it in a way to get more,” the minister told local media, saying that Ukrainians should do the same.
He added that the EU will have to make significant adjustments to accommodate Ukraine as a new member due to the size of its population. “How will the balance of power change in the European Union by, say, a tandem of Ukraine and Poland?” he mused. “That would be a new reality.”
“It’s cool that this upcoming reform will account for the future Ukrainian membership. Megacool,” the top diplomat explained to the Levyi Bereg news outlet.
President Volodymyr Zeleksny told a NATO conference in Madrid last week that Kiev needs $5 billion per month to cover its budget deficit. The Ukrainian leader is adamant that Kiev would not concede any territory to Russia in exchange for a ceasefire and claims that increased supply of Western weapons to Ukraine would change the tide against Russia.
Last week, Russia reported seizing the entire territory claimed by the Lugansk People’s Republic. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Monday that Ukraine lost almost 5,500 troops in just two weeks of fighting in the east, including over 2,000 killed.
Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.