Ukraine is beginning preparations for the reconstruction of cities, communities and infrastructure destroyed by the Russian occupiers. This was announced by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a meeting of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, which was held as a video conference.
The head of state said that the Russian leadership, in deciding to invade Ukraine, hoped for an internal split in our country, that Ukrainians would not be able to unite for victory. But two months of resistance showed that Russian leaders were wrong.
"Every day, while the whole country is fighting against the Russian invaders, we as a central and local government with our friends and partners must spend on preparations for the postwar restoration of our state," Zelenskyy said.
"Preliminary estimates of Ukraine's losses from this war reach $600 billion today. More than 32 million square meters of living space, more than 1,500 educational facilities and more than 350 medical facilities have been destroyed or damaged. Economic entities suffered huge losses – hundreds of enterprises have been destroyed. About 2,500 kilometers of roads and almost 300 bridges have been ruined or damaged. And it's not just statistics. This is Mariupol, this is Volnovakha, this is Okhtyrka, this is Chernihiv, this is Borodianka and dozens or dozens of our cities, towns and villages," the President said.
According to him, more than 11.5 million Ukrainians have fled their homes due to the fighting, and about 5 million of them have gone abroad. And 95% of migrants already want to return home. Therefore, there is an urgent need to prepare a plan to rebuild a comfortable European Ukraine.
According to Zelenskyy, the task is to return normal life to the entire territory where the Russian occupiers entered and where Russian missiles hit and, unfortunately, continue hitting.
He said that today he has received consent from the United Kingdom, Denmark, Japan, Italy and several other countries to join the restoration of the affected territories of Ukraine.
"The main principle of this project is that we are building with Europe and the world, rebuilding the whole country. A partnership will be established for each city and each country," the Head of State said.
President of the National Council, the lower house of the Swiss parliament, Irène Kälin, President of the Senate of Romania Florin Cîțu, President of the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia Talat Xhaferi, who arrived in our country, were invited to participate in the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. They expressed admiration for the courage of President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people and assured their comprehensive support of Ukraine, in particular in issues of postwar reconstruction.
Kälin said that the programs of cooperation between Ukraine and Switzerland during the war not only did not stop, but were stepped up. Switzerland is also preparing for the Ukraine Reconstruction Conference in the summer.
Cîțu said that Romania supports the European perspective of our country and is ready to contribute to the revival of Ukraine after the war. Xhaferi also emphasized great solidarity with the Ukrainian people and readiness to help our state.
The audience also heard a video address by President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
Michel said that he fully shares Zelenskyy's vision of Ukraine as a powerful, modern and integral part of Europe, as well as his idea of involving individual states in the restoration and reconstruction of certain Ukrainian regions and territories.
For her part, the President of the European Commission said that the role of regional elites will be important in this process, and European cities and regions are ready to share their experience with Ukrainians.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal said that on behalf of the President, the government is preparing a plan to restore the country.
"We want not just to rebuild, but we want and will make better and more modern everything that was destroyed by Russian barbarians. It also means that there will be a major transformation of the Ukrainian economy after the war. We must build a new Ukraine together with you – strong and European," he said.
The prime minister also said that Ukraine has managed to maintain the country administration system – central and local authorities are functioning as a single team, and local authorities are organizing the defense of their communities, providing assistance to displaced persons, and backing up the home front.
According to Shmyhal, the government has allocated UAH 1.4 billion to restore critical infrastructure in five regions. Reconstruction and clearing of roads, restoration of electricity supply, demining of territories are underway – more than 85,000 explosive devices have been neutralized, he said.