Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said the reconstruction of his war-battered country is the “common task of the entire democratic world,” as Ukraine’s Prime Minister laid out a $750 billion recovery plan once the war with Russia ends.
As Russian forces continued their crushing advance in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, Mr. Zelensky spoke by video message to the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Switzerland about the needs of the country that has been on an up-and-down march toward democracy since the end of the Cold War and now faces widespread devastation.
“The reconstruction of Ukraine is not a local project, is not a project of one nation, but a common task of the entire democratic world — all countries, all countries who can say they are civilized," Zelenskyy told hundreds of attendees in Lugano. ”Restoring Ukraine means restoring the principles of life, restoring the space of life, restoring everything that makes humans humans."
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said such a recovery would require a sort of “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine to help it rebuild.
Such ambitions, Zelensky said, will require wide-scale construction, funding, and security “in all of our country which will be forced to continue living beside Russia.”
The task, which is already under way in some areas that were taken from Russian forces, aims to leverage outside expertise, government funds and work of Ukrainians to rebuild hospitals, schools, government buildings, homes and apartments — but also water pipes, gas lines and other battered infrastructure.
“Today, we’re all united in our defense. Tomorrow in our reconstruction,” said Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shymhal, who attended in person. He presented a recovery plan that meets immediate needs — even as the war continues — followed by a “fast recovery” when it's over, and then longer-term requirements.
Shmyhal said the cost of the recovery plan is estimated at $750 billion, and insisted a key source of funding “should be the confiscated assets of Russia and Russian oligarchs.” He cited unspecified estimates that such sums total $300 billion to $500 billion now.
"The Russian authorities unleash this bloody war. They caused this massive destruction and they should be held accountable for it," Shmyhal said.