Von der Leyen: We have no time to lose, the scale of the destruction is staggering

We must help the Ukrainians to rebuild their country quickly, said the President of the EC

The world should not waste time, but help the Ukrainians to quickly rebuild their country. This was stated by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, quoted by Reuters.

“We have no time to lose, the scale of the destruction is staggering. The World Bank estimates the amount of damage at 350 billion euros,” Von der Leyen said. She added that “as soon as possible” an international coordination platform for the recovery should start working and the European Commission is ready to provide a secretariat for it.

“Persistent Russian drone attacks are yet another brutal manifestation of Russia’s war against Ukraine, but they are also a sign of Moscow’s desperation,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at the opening of the Berlin conference.

“The history of Germany has shown that a country can be rebuilt even after a devastating war, so it is important to draw up a plan for Ukraine’s future as a prosperous and democratic EU member state and exporter of green energy and high-tech goods. This conference is to create a Marshall Plan for the 21st century,” Scholz said.

“The commitment for Ukraine to become a member of the EU is one of the most significant geopolitical decisions of our time,” he added.

However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking to forum participants via video link, warned that Russia had destroyed more than a third of his country’s energy infrastructure. He added that Ukraine has not yet received “a single cent” of a $17 billion rapid recovery plan.

Zelensky also called for international support to help Ukraine meet its budget next year, AFP reported. “At this conference, we have to decide to fill the hole in the Ukrainian budget deficit next year,” he said. “This is a very important amount of 38 billion dollars… these are the salaries of teachers, doctors, these are social benefits, pensions,” added Zelensky.

The reconstruction of Ukraine must begin even though the fighting continues, Ukrainian Minister of Municipalities and Territorial Development Oleksiy Chernyshov said before the start of the conference, DPA reported.

“Our utility, energy, and housing system must be prepared for the coming winter, which is coming very soon, and right now it is difficult,” he added.

German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze called for the creation of a mechanism to force Russia to pay for the costs of rebuilding Ukraine.

There is currently no international law under which this is possible,” she said before the start of the conference.

Scholz and von der Leyen are hosting an international conference in Berlin to discuss the reconstruction of Ukraine. It is attended by international experts, as well as Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

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