September 30, 2022

For Ukrainians living in the shadow of war, the cost of the conflict is hard to measure: thousands of people have been killed, countless homes and buildings destroyed by missiles, families displaced, and livelihoods lost. But world leaders gather in the Swiss lakeside city of Lugano for The second day is Tuesday trying to do exactly that.

Leaders, with aid organizations and financial institutions, map out the massive effort it will take to rebuild war-ravaged Ukraine.

The nearly five-month war destroyed vital infrastructure – factories, airports, railway stations – and destroyed apartment buildings, schools, hospitals, churches and shopping centres. The bombs are still falling. Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Denis Shmyal, told those gathered in Lugano on Monday that the cost of rebuilding Estimated at 750 billion dollars.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had warned the conference that the task of rebuilding the country would be “tremendous”. Via the video link, he said, the indiscriminate Russian bombing was an attempt not only to destroy Ukraine but also the vision of democracy and Europe, making the war “not just our war, not just local.”

“This is Russia’s attack on everything of value to you and me,” he added. “Therefore, the reconstruction of Ukraine is not a domestic project, not a one-state project, but a common task of the entire democratic world.”

Repeat that message In his night speech to Ukraine.

Whatever the cost, Ukraine’s international allies will face an uphill struggle to help rebuild a former Soviet state with a culture of endemic corruption and fragile democratic institutions. Transparency International, an anti-corruption watchdog, ranked Ukraine 117th out of 180 countries on its Corruption Index in 2020.

Meanwhile, as Ukraine welcomes more aid pledges, many Western countries and their people are suffering from war fatigue amid spiraling inflation and food and gas prices. It remains to be seen how far countries will be willing to go to help Ukraine when the war is finally over.

Earlier this year, donor pledges to Afghanistan and Yemen fell well short of targets set by the United Nations. In Afghanistan, where Taliban policies have complicated aid efforts, the United Nations has said that $4.4 billion was needed this year In humanitarian aid alone, however, $2.4 billion was raised. of the $4.3 billion required for Yemen, $1.3 billion has been contributed.

Mr. Zelensky sent Mr. Schmihal and other members of his government to Lugano, a picturesque lakeside town, for two days of talks with a team of international hitters. Also in attendance were the European Union’s chief executive, Ursula van der Leyen, who has described Ukraine’s rebuilding as “important for generations”, and Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, along with senior officials from Europe, North America and Asia. and representatives of major international financial institutions.

The meeting was planned long before the war as one of a series of conferences focused on tackling corruption in Ukraine. But after Russia began its invasion on February 24, the focus shifted to recovery. The First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, addressed the Lugano Conference via video link on Monday and announced another meeting of first ladies and gentlemen from around the world on July 23. The first summit of the group last year In the capital, Kyiv.

“Any discussions about Ukraine’s post-war recovery are meaningless if they do not prioritize restoring people’s moral and physical health,” said Ms. Zelenska. in its title on Monday.

The Lugano meeting is still looking at issues of governance and corruption, which have taken on renewed importance in recent weeks: When the European Union accepted Ukraine last month as a candidate for full membership, it said progress on corruption and the rule of law would be required to move the implementation forward.

But even before the conference, a number of countries seemed ready to make promises of financial support.

Britain said it would provide more than $1 billion in World Bank loans and grant financial support and would guarantee World Bank loans for another half a billion dollars, along with immediate support for clearing landmines and rebuilding Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

Vivek Shankar Contribute to the preparation of reports.

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