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Ukraine war latest: Major reconstruction aid announced at Ukraine Recovery Conference

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 12, 2024 12:34 AM 8 min read
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (L) and Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) during the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin on June 11, 2024. (Presidential Office)
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Key developments on June 11:

  • New assistance announced for Ukraine at Ukraine Recovery Conference
  • Ukraine controls Ivanivske near Chasiv Yar, battles ongoing in Staromaiorske, military says
  • Ukraine shot down Russian Su-25 aircraft, military says
  • Media: G7 to create Ukraine aid fund using income from frozen Russian assets
  • It's time for allies to give Ukraine all arms needed to defeat Russia, Zelensky says

The Ukraine Recovery Conference, hosted in Berlin from June 11-12, has already yielded efforts from states and international organizations toward addressing Ukraine's reconstruction needs.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen revealed that Ukraine will receive 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) from Russian frozen assets in July, along with 1.9 billion euros ($2 billion) from the Ukraine Facility this month.

"We have always said that Russia must be held accountable for its crimes, and now we make Russia pay," von der Leyen said at the conference.

Germany announced additional military aid, including a third Patriot air defense system, IRIS-T and Gepard anti-aircraft systems, missiles, and ammunition, according to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius later added that Ukraine would receive 68 more Patriot missiles in the coming weeks, in addition to the 32 delivered in the past two days, bringing the total to 100.

The United States pledged $824 million to support Ukraine's energy infrastructure, as stated by U.S. Special Representative for Economic Recovery in Ukraine Penny Pritzker.

Italy also committed 140 million euros ($150 million) for infrastructure recovery and an additional military aid package, primarily consisting of air defense systems. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani announced the aid at the conference and mentioned that Italy and Ukraine would sign a cooperation memorandum on June 11.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) pledged 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) for repairing Ukraine's energy infrastructure and nearly 25 million euros ($26.8 million) for restoring the water supply in Mykolaiv.

EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso noted that the 1-billion-euro agreement would be signed during the conference. Following Russia's full-scale invasion, the EBRD invested 3.8 billion euros ($4 billion) in 2022-2023, reaching 4 billion euros ($4.29 billion) by February 2024.

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Media: G7 to create Ukraine aid fund using income from frozen Russian assets

The Group of Seven (G7) will create a fund to support Ukraine using the income generated from frozen Russian assets, Nikkei Asia reported on June 11.

The fund will reportedly be created under an international organization such as the World Bank, with contributions in the form of "Extraordinary Revenue Acceleration" (ERA) loans. G7 leaders plan to announce the initiative in a joint summit in Italy, which starts on June 13.

The U.S. has indicated it will provide $50 billion, while the U.K., Canada, and Japan are also considering contributions, Nikkei Asia reported. Japan may channel its support through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, focusing on nonmilitary assistance.

The Kyiv Independent could not independently confirm Nikkei Asia's report.

While Western countries have frozen $300 billion in Russian assets, they can only access the income generated by these funds, approximately $3.2 billion annually. By setting up a fund with loans to be repaid using this income, countries can offer immediate support to Ukraine beyond this amount.

The U.S. proposed seizing Russian assets outright in accordance with its recently passed REPO act, but the European Union has been more hesitant, fearing legal and fiscal pitfalls of confiscation.

Instead, Brussels seeks to use windfall profits generated by the frozen assets and funnel them to Kyiv.

Two-thirds of the frozen assets are located within the European Union, much of it held by the Belgian clearinghouse Euroclear. The EU has already established a framework for sending investment income from these assets to Ukraine, and European G7 members do not plan to participate in the new program for now.

Ukraine controls Ivanivske near Chasiv Yar, battles ongoing in Staromaiorske, military says

Kyiv controls the situation in Ivanivske near Chasiv Yar, and Ukrainian forces continue to repel Russian troops in Staromaiorske in Donetsk Oblast, Lieutenant Colonel Nazar Voloshyn, the spokesperson of the Khortytsia group of forces, told the Kyiv Independent on June 11.

The statement comes after the Russian Defense Ministry claimed on June 10 that its forces had captured Staromaiorske, a front-line village in southwestern Donetsk Oblast.

The crowd-sourced monitoring channel DeepState then claimed the same day that Russian forces also captured Ivanivske, a village on the eastern outskirts of the embattled Chasiv Yar, and advanced near Staromaiorske and Novopokrovske.

Voloshyn dismissed the claims about the capture of the two villages.

"Regarding Ivanivske, I can say this: the settlements belongs to Ukraine, the (Ukrainian) defense forces control this sector," Voloshyn told the Kyiv Independent, adding that Russia continues to launch strikes and ground assaults in the area.

"As of this morning, 350 strikes were recorded in the Chasiv Yar area, including 254 during the past day."

The majority of the attacks – 222 – targeted Ivanivske. Over the past week, 1,233 strikes were recorded in the village, Voloshyn said.

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War Notes

Ukraine's General Staff said on June 11 that over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian forces repelled seven Russian attempts at a breakthrough in the area of Ivanivske, Klischchiivka, Andriivka, and Novyi.

Russian forces have ramped up their offensive in Donetsk Oblast, focusing their efforts on Chasiv Yar. By attacking Ivanivske, Moscow is attempting to encircle Chasiv Yar, whose capture would allow further advances into the region.

Soldiers and commanders on the ground previously told the Kyiv Independent that Russian forces entered Ivanivske in February and are trying to push out Ukrainian forces in a fierce house-to-house fighting.

In a comment for the Kyiv Independent, Voloshyn said at the time that Russia "doesn't have any success" despite intensified efforts in the area and denied that the village is about to fall.

Speaking about Staromaiorske, the spokesperson told the Kyiv Independent on June 11 that the battles are ongoing there and the "situation is very dynamic."

"Using their numerical advantage, Russian troops are increasing their efforts but the defense forces not only manage to hold their positions but also attack with artillery and mortars, destroying and repelling the enemy."

According to the spokersperson, "all attempts by the Russian occupiers to advance are met with fierce resistance by Ukrainian defenders."

The General Staff said in its evening report on June 10 that Ukrainian forces thwarted Russia's attempts to advance near Staromaiorske.

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Ukraine shot down Russian Su-25 aircraft, military says

Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian Su-25 fighter jet in the Pokrovsk sector on June 10, Ukraine's General Staff reported.

Russia is carrying out intense attacks in multiple sections of the eastern front, which covers much of Donetsk Oblast, after it captured the city of Avdiivka in February. The Pokrovsk direction is the hottest spot on the battlefield, the military said.

The Soviet-designed Su-25, nicknamed "Frogfoot" by NATO, is a heavily armored ground-attack aircraft that provides close air support for Russian ground troops.

Several Russian Su-25s were reportedly shot down last month, including two on May 23.

Russia's total losses during the all-out war amount to about 685 aircraft — 359 planes and 326 helicopters, according to Ukraine's General Staff.

The General Staff's figure could not be independently verified.

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It's time for allies to give Ukraine all arms needed to defeat Russia, Zelensky says

The time has come for Kyiv's partners to provide all the weapons necessary to push Russia out of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky said during the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin on June 11.

"If you're asking me whether the time has come for the partners to give us all the arms needed to throw Russia out, then yes, the time has come," Zelensky said in a response to a journalist's question.

The world's government and business leaders, as well as representatives of international organizations and civil society, have gathered in the German capital for a two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference.

Speaking at a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz after bilateral talks, Zelensky thanked Berlin for all the support it has provided to Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression.

Germany is the second-largest military donor to Ukraine after the U.S. and has launched an allied initiative to supply Kyiv with the much-needed anti-aircraft systems.

Responding to a journalist's question, Scholz said that Berlin currently has no plans to back the proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron's proposal to send military instructors to Ukraine.

Scholz added that Germany continues to train Ukrainian soldiers on German territory, and "nothing changes there."

Zelensky also touched upon the subject of Kyiv's prospective membership in the EU, saying that the country fulfilled all the necessary steps to start accession talks.

Ukraine received EU membership candidate status in June 2022. In November 2023, the European Commission recommended accession talks with Kyiv, and the European Council supported the launch of the negotiations a month later.

The European Commission said last week that Ukraine is ready to begin the process. At the conference, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the negotiations should begin by the end of June.

A unanimous agreement by all members is required for this step, and Hungary is reportedly obstructing consensus. EU and Ukrainian officials are reportedly pushing to start the talks by the end of the month before Hungary takes up the rotating presidency of the EU Council in July.

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