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Ukraine Recovery Conference begins in London

by Martin Fornusek June 21, 2023 12:22 PM 3 min read
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the opening of the Ukraine Recovery Conference on June 21, 2023. (Photo: Jakub Parusinski/Kyiv Independent)
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The 2023 Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC), an event aimed at mobilizing international support for Ukraine's economic stabilization and war recovery, started in London on June 21.

"When Ukrainians re-imagine their future, they see Europe's flag flying over their cities. Ukraine's future is our future," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in an opening remark, as quoted by a Kyiv Independent team member.

She also announced a dedicated facility to cover 45%, or $55 billion, of Ukraine's estimated fiscal gap until 2027.

On the sidelines of the event, the European Investment Bank (EIB) pledged $917 million to finance the restoration of municipal infrastructure, public buildings, water supply, and transport networks, Ukraine's Ministry for Restoration informed.

This comes on top of the aid EIB is already providing to Ukraine. The bank has allocated $1.9 billion of emergency assistance since the start of the full-scale invasion, and the total portfolio of EIB's projects in Ukraine amounts to over $7.6 billion.

U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken reportedly announced $1.3 billion in additional aid focused on infrastructure projects, including $520 million to support energy grid work.

Blinken called on greater public sector involvement to help manage the "huge costs," while emphasizing that Russia is responsible for the damages, and will bear the ultimate cost.

U.S. State Secretary Anthony Blinken at the opening of the Ukraine Recovery Conference on June 21, 2023. (Photo: Jakub Parusinski/Kyiv Independent)

The U.K. has pledged $3 billion of World Bank loan guarantees to bolster Ukraine's economic stability and $306 million in bilateral aid.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the conference through an online call, thanking the U.K. Prime Minister Rishi for his leadership and support.

"Ukraine will eventually become a member of the European Union," said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the event.

She emphasized the need to link recovery and accession, to rebuild "a Ukraine fit for EU," and that this will be a special focus of next year's conference, to be held in Germany.

Baerbock further announced $416 million of humanitarian assistance in 2023, including for the purchase of generators and funding demining work. This comes on top of the aid already pledged to Ukraine earlier this year.

France's Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna presented $44 million in non-refundable financial aid for urgent reconstructions in 2023. Paris is also preparing a multi-year aid plan for civilian needs.

The package will consist mostly of grants, so as not to create additional pressure on Ukraine's public finances, Colonna assured.

"Ukraine is on a long-term path of transformation connected to its direction towards EU membership, and we must use the reconstruction process to further help Ukraine in this process," the French minister said.

The URC 2023 is held by Ukraine and the U.K., following the last year's conference in Lugano, Switzerland.

"Since Lugano, the international community has pledged significant emergency assistance, but a broader mobilization of public and private sectors is needed to meet the scale of stabilization and recovery needs Ukraine requires following Russian attacks," the URC 2023 organizers said.

The URC was launched for the first time in London in 2017.

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