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Ukraine Requests Assistance to Protect and Reconstruct Devastated Cities

At a conference in Berlin on Tuesday, Ukraine and its allies rallied support to shield Ukrainian cities from Russian missiles and encouraged international businesses to invest billions of dollars into post-war reconstruction. Kyiv aims for this recovery conference to reinforce its status as a prospective European Union member deserving of substantial reconstruction funding, even as Russian forces advance slowly in Ukraine’s east.

Switzerland will host a summit this weekend to explore pathways to peace in Ukraine, but it has been disregarded by China and dismissed as futile by Russia, which was not invited.

Speaking alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Russia had already destroyed enough energy infrastructure to power Berlin and Munich combined. He sought commitments for billions of euros in defense and agreements to build a new, modern energy system. “Ukraine is suffering from the most destructive form of the Russian view of energy as a weapon,” Zelensky said.

Citing World Bank estimates that Ukraine might need $500 billion over a decade, Scholz emphasized the need to present a compelling business case for investment, highlighting Ukraine’s potential in sectors like renewables, IT, and pharmaceuticals. He also announced that Germany was sending additional air defense systems to strengthen Ukraine’s defenses against Russian attacks on cities and critical infrastructure, more than two years after Russia’s full-scale invasion began. “The best kind of reconstruction is the one that doesn’t have to happen at all,” he remarked.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius revealed that in collaboration with Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway, Germany would deliver another 100 Patriot air defense missiles. Since March, a Russian aerial bombardment campaign has severely damaged Ukraine’s generating capacity, leading to scheduled blackouts across the country.

Also Read: Germany Hosts Ukraine Recovery Talks Before Swiss Summit

Both Zelensky and Scholz will attend a Group of Seven major Western powers summit in Italy this week, amidst a flurry of diplomatic activity.

Asked what he expected of the conference in Switzerland, which aims to build support for Kyiv’s peace proposals, Zelenskiy said the fact it was even happening was a result, as it was becoming harder to keep countries onside as war drags on.

“It is important not to hand over (the initiative) … to Russia,” he said. “Because the Russian initiative had been demonstrated on the day of the full-scale invasion. Their vision is the occupation of our country.”

GERMAN AFD BOYCOTTS ZELENSKIY SPEECH

In a Reuters interview at the conference, the mayor of Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, said Western weapons and the permission to use against targets just inside Russia had helped to restore calm.

Zelenskiy also addressed the German parliament, where his speech was boycotted by two parties including the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose support surged in European elections last weekend.

Speaking alongside Scholz and Zelenskiy, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced agreements worth 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion) with banks to help attract private investment for Ukraine.

She also said the EU would itself deliver 1.9 billion euros to Ukraine by the end of the month, and that Kyiv would benefit from interest income from frozen Russian assets.

“(Russian President Vladimir) Putin must fail, and Ukraine must prevail,” she said.

“And we must help Ukraine to rise from the ashes and to be the master of its own future. This means, first and foremost, that we must provide Ukraine with the means to defend itself.”

The Berlin conference was tainted this week by the resignation of a top Ukrainian reconstruction official who said “systemic obstacles” were making his job untenable.

U.S. special envoy Penny Pritzker said commitments to rebuilding Ukraine were “predicated upon having good stewardship by those who are managing the reconstruction efforts across the Ukrainian government”.

“It’s urgent to tackle the corruption, the customs evasion, the grey markets,” she said.

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John Collins
John Collins
John is an esteemed journalist and author renowned for their incisive reporting and deep insights into global affairs. As a prominent contributor to City Telegraph, John brings over 5 years of experience covering diverse geopolitical landscapes, from the corridors of power in major capitals to the frontlines of conflict zones.

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