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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Germany Hosts Ukraine Recovery Talks Before Swiss Summit

Germany is hosting a two-day Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin starting Tuesday, aiming to gather international support for rebuilding efforts after Russia’s devastating war. The conference precedes a week of intense diplomacy, including the G7 summit in Italy and a global peace summit in Switzerland.

Around 2,000 attendees from politics, business, and other sectors are expected, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy fresh from marking D-Day’s 80th anniversary in France.

German Development Minister Svenja Schulze stressed Ukraine’s ongoing need to reconstruct housing, infrastructure and utilities amid the conflict. “People want to keep living in their country, and to do so they need electricity, water and a roof over their heads,” she said.

Schulze highlighted the recovery task’s immense scale, necessitating involvement beyond just governments. “We are expressly inviting companies, civil society and municipalities to the conference,” she added.

Also Read: Biden to Meet Zelenskiy in France, Announces $225 Million in Military Aid

The Berlin conference follows a similar event in London last year, underscoring continued Western solidarity with Kyiv’s reconstruction and recovery efforts throughout the war.

Along with sustaining attacks on Ukraine’s power grid causing nationwide blackouts, Kyiv faces immediate challenges in rebuilding infrastructure amid the ongoing war. Last year in London, allies pledged billions in non-military aid to support reconstruction, anti-corruption efforts, and Ukraine’s EU membership bid.

Reform remains central this year, with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stating, “We are pulling out all the stops so that Ukraine can soon take a seat at the EU table – because, in addition to military support, that’s the best protection.”

However, hurdles persist. On Monday, Ukraine’s recovery agency head Mustafa Nayyem resigned, citing “systemic obstacles” and accusing the government of bureaucratic hindrances. Ukraine has lacked a dedicated reconstruction minister since Oleksandr Kubrakov’s May dismissal. Nayyem complained about being barred from the Berlin conference by the prime minister.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, making his third Berlin visit since Russia’s February 2022 invasion, is expected to address the German parliament. He last visited in mid-February to sign a bilateral security pact with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, signaling long-term allied backing for Ukraine.

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