The cost of rebuilding battered Ukraine after the war is estimated at a staggering $750 billion, but some of those funds could come from the source of the damage.
Just as he has appealed to the international community for help in his country’s attempt to fend off the Russian invasion, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Switzerland a global effort will be needed for restoration.
“The reconstruction of Ukraine is not a local project, is not a project of one nation, but a common task of the entire democratic world — all countries, all countries who can say they are civilized,” Zelenskyy said in a video message. ”Restoring Ukraine means restoring the principles of life, restoring the space of life, restoring everything that makes humans humans.”
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who attended the conference in Lugano in person, provided the $750 billion figure and presented a recovery plan for immediate and long-term needs.
Shmyhal also said a large source of funding “should be the confiscated assets of Russia and Russian oligarchs,” which he said may currently amount to between $300 billion and $500 billion.
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►Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has thanked the International Olympic Committee for supporting a ban on Russian athletes in most Olympics sports. Russia has an appeal hearing Tuesday challenging its ban from international soccer at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
►Pope Francis, who has condemned the “ferocity” and “cruelty” of Russian troops in Ukraine, said he hopes to visit Moscow and Kyiv after his trip to Canada July 24-30.
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory in the battle for Ukraine’s Luhansk province Monday and ordered rest for his troops before pushing on in the Kremlin’s quest to take control of the entire Donbas industrial region.
“Military units that took part in active hostilities and achieved success and victory should rest, increase their combat capabilities,” Putin said on state TV.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported that Russian forces had taken control of Lysychansk, the last disputed major city in Luhansk. Earlier, Ukraine’s military said it was forced to withdraw in the face of Russia’s advantage in artillery, aviation, ammunition and personnel. Continuing to hold out would lead to “fatal consequences” for its troops, the military said in a Facebook post.
“We just gotta keep on fighting,” the post said. “Unfortunately, steel will and patriotism are not enough for success. Material and technical resources are needed.”
Despite Russia’s claims to the contrary, its invasion is still having “a devastating impact on Ukraine’s agricultural sector,” the British Defense Ministry said in its latest intelligence assessment.
The ministry said the Russian blockade of the key port of Odesa in the Black Sea is severely limiting Ukraine’s ability to export grain while harvest has begun. In addition, the war has disrupted the supply chain of seeds and fertilizer farmers use.
That combination will most likely shrink Ukraine’s agricultural exports this year to 35% or less of what they were in 2021, the ministry said, pointing out that drastic reduction from a major wheat producer is contributing to the global food crisis.
“Russia continues to employ air-launched anti-ship missiles in a secondary land-attack role, likely because of dwindling stockpiles of more accurate modern weapons,” the British defense ministry said on Twitter.
Both Russia and Ukraine have expended large amounts of weaponry in a grinding war of attrition for the eastern Donbas region. President Joe Biden said last month the U.S. would provide Ukraine longer-range precision rockets, but it’s not clear yet how much difference they’ll make.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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