Kuliba in Ukraine about post-war reconstruction
The cost of rebuilding Ukraine after the devastation wrought by Russian forces will be enormous. Ukrainian officials have put the potential amount at $600 billion, and some have said this is a modest number and is set to rise as the war drags on.
International financial institutions have stressed the need for something like the Marshall Plan for Ukraine, which involves billions of money in grants from allied countries. But faced with the prospect of years of debt on their citizens to rebuild a country that is not theirs, some governments are reluctant to sign up.
the solution? Russian money, says Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
“I don’t think American or German taxpayers or any other taxpayers in the world should pay for what Russia did,” Kuleba told CNBC. “There is an alternative way to get Ukraine back, (ie) make Russia pay for it.” Hadley Gamble during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The idea has already been floated by several countries, and in late April, Canada announced that it was developing legislation that would enable it to redistribute confiscated Russian assets to compensate and rebuild Ukraine’s efforts.
That would make Canada the first industrialized country in the Group of Seven to allow such seizures, and it encourages allies to follow suit.
“Seize and transfer,” Kuleba said on Wednesday. “That is why the European Commission has recently come up with certain initiatives on how to create a legal framework for this – Canada has passed a law allowing not only the confiscation of assets but also the transfer of those assets to projects associated with the recovery of Ukraine. Make Russia pay for it!” he emphasized.
German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said in mid-May that such action was still a possibility, but no joint decision had yet been taken among the G7 members. Earlier this week, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Slovakia announced their intention to invite the European Union to fund the reconstruction of Ukraine with frozen Russian assets.
“Why is everyone trying to be merciful to Russia?” Kuleba said. “Why are some countries, leaders or politicians worried about not over-pressing Russia? Putin has betrayed even those who tried to help him by launching large-scale aggression against a sovereign state, which is what will happen. Textbooks are the clearest example of state aggression. On another country. Make Russia pay for it.”
The World Bank estimates that the Ukrainian economy will be halved by the end of 2022. Critical ports and export corridors are closed by Russia, which risks triggering a global food crisis because Ukraine is a major exporter of agricultural products to most of the developing world.
Kuleba’s comments came as Russian forces bombarded Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region with heavy artillery that nearly destroyed the entire region.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the situation in Donbass in eastern Ukraine was “extremely difficult” with Russian forces concentrating their fire and manpower on attacking the region and capturing major cities there.
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