London hosts second international conference on Ukraine’s reconstruction

The second international conference on the reconstruction of Ukraine kicked off in London on June 21. Representatives of 60 countries for two days discuss “long-term investment in the Ukrainian economy”, the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper wrote.

The conference is attended by representatives of 400 major Western companies, which, according to Western leaders, should share the burden of aid to Ukraine, using “their invaluable experience and financial power”.

Vedomosti gave information about the conference. Volodymyr Zelensky, who spoke by video link, thanked Western countries with which he had agreed on the key principles of Ukraine’s reconstruction and asked to move “from a common vision to agreements and from agreements to real projects”.

The Western countries that participated in the conference promised Ukraine massive financial aid. The G7 countries had previously promised to mobilize $115 billion in financing for Ukraine, including in the form of loans from the IMF, the World Bank and the EBRD.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Kyiv needs $6.5 billion just to rebuild its infrastructure over the next year, while a total of $600–800 billion would be needed to rebuild Ukraine. The World Bank estimates the cost of rebuilding Ukraine to be $411 billion.

The Ukrainian authorities are not rejecting the idea of rebuilding the country at the expense of confiscated Russian assets. According to Shmyhal, they have managed to develop a “fair mechanism” to confiscate $500 billion from Russia’s frozen assets, but he gave no details.

Western financial and economic aid to Ukraine is aimed at preserving Kyiv’s ability to resist Russian military and political pressure, says researcher Dmitry Ofitserov-Belsky of the IMEMO RAS. Most of the funds allocated by the West are loaned to Ukrainians, and Western elites understand that Kyiv is unlikely to be able to repay most of the loans in the foreseeable future, but attempts to recoup losses at the expense of seized Russian assets of the Central Bank and large companies will continue.

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