The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkenannounced this Wednesday a new economic aid of 1.3 billion dollars for Ukraine and promised that Russia would eventually pay for its invasion.
“While Russia continues to destroy, we are here to help Ukraine rebuild: rebuild lives, rebuild their country, rebuild their future.”, declared Blinken at a reconstruction conference in London.
“Let’s be clear: Russia is causing the destruction of Ukraine, and Russia will end up bearing the cost of rebuilding Ukraine,” he said to applause, echoing remarks by British and European Union leaders.
The new financing -which comes from funds already approved by the US Congress- it adds to the $63 billion provided by the United States to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.
Some $40 billion of the aid has gone to weapons and other security aid.
Of the new help, some 657 million dollars will be used to improve railway lines, ports, border crossings and other infrastructure Ukraine to help the country expand its trade with Europe, Blinken explained.
Another $520 million in aid will help Ukraine overhaul its energy gridlargely destroyed by Russian attacks, including through market reforms, Blinken said.
Among the rest of the help, 100 million dollars will support the modernization of customs services of Ukraine, including the transition to digital technology to improve transparency in trade.
Blinken made it clear that Washington would police corruption – which could reduce congressional support for aid to Ukraine – and called on the Ukrainian Parliament to pass an antitrust law.
Blinken said the United States would expand its help to strengthen anti-corruption agencies and civil society, as well as media freedom.
These institutions are “crucial in ensuring that the unprecedented resources that all of us are providing are managed responsibly.”
Conference in London
Politicians, diplomats and businessmen from more than 60 countries attend the two-day gathering, where BT, Virgin, Philips and Hyundai Engineering are among more than 400 companies from 38 countries that Sunak says have committed to investing in Ukraine.
Many claim that Ukraine needs the equivalent of the Marshall Plan, who helped rebuild Europe after World War II. Its infrastructure had been decimated by Russian attacks even before the Kakhovka dam collapsed this month, after an explosion that inundated some 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of land and displaced thousands of people.
Sunak called for investments in technology and green energy to help build “a financially stronger and technologically advanced Ukraine”.
At the conference, Britain pledges 240 million pounds ($305 million) in aid and 3 billion pounds ($3.8 billion) in World Bank loan guarantees for Ukraine.
The UK also hopes to make progress on the creation of war risk insurance for companies investing in Ukrainethough it’s unclear how far along the plans are.
At last year’s recovery conference in Switzerland, Ukraine called for the billions in Russian assets frozen by Western countries since the invasion were used for the recovery of Ukraine.
That is still under discussion, but Britain took a step in that direction this week, extending the sanctions on Russia so funds can be kept frozen until Ukraine gets compensation for the invasion.
“It is clear that Russia must pay for the destruction it has inflictedSunak said.
The director of the Program of the United Nations for the Development, Achim Steiner, head of the UN in the conference, affirmed that the reconstruction cannot wait until the end of the war.
“Reconstruction is not something that is in the distant future, not even in the worst times, not even in the middle of a crisis,” he said during a visit to Ukraine this month. “Sowing the seeds of recovery -that’s why some of us say early recovery-, but also reconstruction, is not only a physical response strategy, but also a psychological one.”
(With information from AFP and AP)
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