LONDON – Leaders and representatives from around the world gathered in London for the International Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023, vowing to hold Russia accountable for its invasion of Ukraine and pledging support for the country’s reconstruction efforts.
The World Bank estimates that Ukraine will need $14 billion for immediate repairs following the devastating conflict, while broader economic recovery is projected to cost $441 billion.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized Russia’s responsibility for Ukraine’s destruction, stating, “Let’s be clear: Russia is causing Ukraine’s destruction… And Russia will eventually bear the cost of Ukraine’s reconstruction.”
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak echoed this sentiment, pledging to maintain tough sanctions until Russia fulfills its obligations and utilizing seized assets to assist Ukraine’s recovery.
The conference takes place amidst ongoing conflict, with Russia claiming to have downed three Ukrainian drones in the Moscow region, while Ukraine reported shooting down six Iranian-designed attack drones in the west using their air defence systems.
President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the delegates via videolink, describing the devastating impact of Russian aggression and outlining Ukraine’s potential for development in various sectors, including technology, green agriculture, and clean energy.
Over 60 countries, including representatives from major multinational corporations, are attending the conference.
The goal is not only to provide government support but also to encourage private-sector involvement in the reconstruction efforts.
The newly introduced Ukraine Business Compact aims to foster trade, investment, and expertise-sharing, capitalizing on Zelensky’s commitment to combat corruption, improve transparency, and promote market liberalization.
More than 400 companies from 38 countries have already pledged support, with a combined market capitalization of $4.9 trillion.
In addition to government aid, the United Kingdom has announced $3 billion in backing for Ukraine to unlock essential World Bank loans, along with an extra $306 million in development aid for humanitarian projects.
The European Union has committed 50 billion euros ($55 billion) over the next four years, and Germany will provide 381 million euros in humanitarian assistance this year.
The United States has announced over $1.3 billion in additional aid to help Ukraine rebuild.
The conference serves as a platform for global solidarity and a reaffirmation of commitments to Ukraine’s recovery.
The hope is that the combined efforts of governments and the private sector will aid in rebuilding Ukraine, ensuring a better future for its people and sending a strong message to the world about the consequences of aggression and the value of freedom.