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Ukraine Needs $411 Billion for Reconstruction, World Bank Says

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Ukraine’s reconstruction and recovery needs have grown to $411 billion, just over a year since Russia’s invasion, the World Bank said Wednesday (22 March).

The assessment, made jointly by Ukraine’s government, the World Bank, the European Commission and the United Nations, is an increase from the $349 billion estimated in a report released in September.

The latest evaluation expects Kyiv to require $14 billion for critical and priority reconstruction and recovery investments in 2023.

Meeting these needs will call for $11 billion in financing beyond what Ukraine’s government has already addressed in its 2023 budget, according to the assessment.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has displaced millions of people, and global food and energy prices surged on the fallout from the war.

“Energy infrastructure, housing, critical infrastructure, economy and humanitarian demining are our five priorities for this year,” Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said in a statement.

He added that part of the reconstruction work has already been done.

But Shmygal warned that “the amount of damage and recovery needs currently does not include data on the loss of infrastructure, housing and businesses in the occupied territories.”

When the defense forces release them, authorities will start restoration work in these territories, he said.

But the $411 billion needed is 2.6 times the country’s estimated gross domestic product for 2022.

The highest expected needs are in transport, followed by housing and energy.

Ukraine’s reconstruction will “take several years,” said the World Bank’s vice president for Europe and Central Asia, Anna Bjerde.

She added that support for public investment also needs to be “complemented by significant private investment to increase the available financing for reconstruction.”

The report released Wednesday said that estimates “should be considered as minimums as needs will continue to rise as long as the war continues.”

But damage has not surged as much as it could have, in part because the worst of the conflict has been limited to areas that have already been significantly damaged.

Some of the country’s needs have been met as well by Ukraine’s government, with support from its partners.

Allies have rushed to pump aid into the country since the conflict broke out.

The war has tipped 7.1 million people into poverty, undoing 15 years of development progress and worsening inequalities, the assessment said.

Direct damage to buildings and infrastructure comes to more than $135 billion, it added.

Russian missiles batter Ukraine

Russian drones attacked Ukrainian cities and missiles blasted an apartment block on Wednesday, but a months-long ground assault on the eastern town of Bakhmut could be stalling in the face of fierce resistance, according to Ukrainian and British military experts.

Russian forces unleashed a wave of air strikes in the north and south of Ukraine as President Vladimir Putin bid farewell on Wednesday to Chinese leader Xi Jinping following a two-day visit to Moscow by his fellow autocrat and “dear friend”.

Peace plans and pipelines: What came out of the Putin-Xi talks?

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But staunch resistance by Ukrainian defenders in Bakhmut, the site of Europe’s deadliest infantry battle since World War Two, led British military intelligence to believe Russia’s assault on the town could be running out of steam.

There was still a danger, however, that the Ukrainian garrison in Bakhmut could be surrounded, Britain’s defence ministry said in its intelligence update on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s military General Staff agreed that Russia’s offensive potential in Bakhmut was declining.

Bakhmut has become a key objective for Moscow, which sees the town as a stepping stone toward completing its conquest of the eastern Donbas region.

In a show of defiance, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office released a video of him handing out medals to troops it said were near the Bakhmut front line.

Source: Euractiv

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