Ukraine’s recovery must be a priority for the civilized world
In an address to Ukrainians last year, President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “The recovery of Ukraine is not only about what needs to be done later, after our victory, but also about what needs to be done at this time. And we have to do it together with our partners. Do now.”
More than 450 days have passed since the start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The scale of destruction caused by Russian troops is unprecedented. Ukrainian land is subject to appalling cruelty. The shelling, missile attacks and drone strikes are constant. Some areas are on the brink of ecological catastrophe. Almost 50 percent of our energy infrastructure system has been destroyed. The number of civilian infrastructure facilities damaged or destroyed by Russia has exceeded 100,000 assets. Ukraine is also one of the most mined countries in the world today.
The most prominent example of Russia’s poisonous and destructive footprint is Bakhmut. A once marvelous and blooming place has been turned into a ghost town. It became a symbol of resilience not only for Ukrainians, but for the whole world. Here comes the understanding that today no place is safe and secure. But Ukraine — a brave nation and its courageous warriors — will continue standing up against evil, liberating our territories and expelling Russian troops from our hometowns.
Along with combating the enemy by force, we are attaching great importance to our economic recovery. And our intention, expressed many times by the political and economic leadership, remains firm and clear: We have to start it now. Time is priceless and people living through hundreds of days in a state of war feel it way more sensibly and painfully.
The government has already designed the National Recovery and Development Plan. It encompasses a strategic route to the future postwar economy and provides opportunities for others to have an input.
The Ukraine Recovery Plan is founded on five key principles: Start now and ramp up gradually; grow prosperity in an equitable way; integrate into the EU; build back better at national and regional scales; and enable private investments.
Taking into account the scale of the destruction, Ukraine will need to involve both states and the private sector to make the process as comprehensive as possible. It is important to keep in mind that support of Ukraine now is a solid investment in the strength of the global economic system for the coming years and decades.
The UK, together with Ukraine, will be holding the 2023 Ukraine Recovery Conference in London on June 21-22. The conference is going to focus the attention of the wider international community on the extensive action plan for Ukraine’s economic recovery and the restoration of its investment potential.
Along with combating the enemy by force, we are attaching great importance to our economic recovery.
A joint assessment conducted by the government of Ukraine, the World Bank Group, the European Commission and the UN, which was released on March 23, indicated that the cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine had grown to $411 billion. It covered a one-year period from the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
In 2023, Ukraine will be in particular need of $14.1 billion for critical and priority reconstruction and recovery investments. Ukraine’s key recovery needs for the current year that require that sum relate to energy infrastructure, humanitarian demining, critical and social infrastructure, the private sector and housing.
The scope of the financial sources that Ukraine will rely upon are as follows: Confiscated Russian funds, direct allocations from the Ukrainian state budget, funding from international partners, and donor funds from around the world.
The whole process should be conducted under international standards, together with a complex of economic, social and legal reforms securing Ukraine’s smooth movement toward the EU.
The recovery of Ukraine must become a priority for the civilized world. It is a chance for the international community to show the supremacy of international law, its principles and the ultimate rule of the UN Charter. It is an opportunity to show the strength of values and of the institutions of modern civilized nations.
Our honor and most sincere pleasure will be to see Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council countries participating in the upcoming London conference, while sharing their invaluable capacities within the grand Ukraine recovery process.
In the final outcome, Ukraine must shine in the brightest way possible in order to showcase the power of international solidarity and justice. Our prosperous future depends on us. Our coherence and devotion should be an example for others to follow.
• Anatolii Petrenko is Ukraine’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.