As Zelensky Visits Kherson, World Bank Says Ukraine Needs $411 Billion to Rebuild

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine traveled to the southern Kherson region on Thursday for his second trip near the frontline in two days in a row, visiting areas ravaged by Russia’s campaign to destroy energy infrastructure. .

Mr Zelensky’s visit, which he recorded on messaging app Telegram, comes a day after his trip to the disputed eastern city of Bakhmut and when the World Bank released a report putting costs rebuilding Ukraine amounted to $411 billion — a significant increase from the $349 billion the bank put out in September. The bank said the new figure could rise as the war continues.

The bank’s report comes as European Union leaders begin a two-day summit in Brussels on Thursday to discuss Europe’s competitiveness in the global economy, along with aid to Ukraine. Leaders initialed about the plan to supply to the Ukrainian government one million shells over the next 12 months — a decision made against the backdrop of Kiev’s growing military needs in a war with no immediate end in sight.

Ukraine is using shells faster than the West can produce or supply. Ukrainian officials say they are in dire need of ammunition, including 155 mm ammunition used in Western guns, as they try to thwart an intensified Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine and prepare for a counterattack. spring work is anticipated.

Mr. Zelensky participated in the meeting of 27 EU heads of state by video, begging for more support. Speaking from a moving carriage, he expressed gratitude for the aid that has been provided so far but wished for more and faster assistance.

He called on leaders to impose more sanctions on Russia, pushed them to speed up the process of allowing his country to join their bloc and said Ukraine needed long-range missiles and modern fighter jets. grand.

In a growing shift among NATO allies increasingly willing to arm Kiev, Spain’s first arms shipment modern battle tank to Ukraine will be delivered next week, Spain’s defense ministry said on Thursday. The move comes after Poland’s president this month announced that his country would transition four Soviet-designed MIG fighters to Ukraine.

The Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, also agreed travel next week to China to hold talks with the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, and said he intends to discuss Beijing’s framework for negotiating a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

The United States said on Tuesday that it will send M1 Abrams tank arrived in Ukraine much faster than expected, later this year. And on Thursday, the Finnish defense minister said that the country had approved to send three more Leopard tanks to Kiev and was considering a request for the supply of Hornet fighters.

The Slovak Ministry of Defense said that the first four of the 13 Soviet-designed fighter aircraft promise to Ukraine Was delivered. That delivery is not expected to significantly change the battlefield dynamics. Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad said the Slovak jets needed to be repaired. They will most likely be used as spare parts for Ukraine’s Soviet-era jets. Kiev’s army is grappling with Soviet-era equipmentneed regular maintenance.

Mr. Zelensky’s trip to frontline areas comes days after the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, visited the city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, which has been occupied by Russian forces since one of Moscow’s most brutal campaigns. Putin’s trip is believed to be the closest the Russian leader has taken to the front line since the invasion.

The Ukrainian leader said on Thursday he had visited Posad-Pokrovske, an agricultural village mostly destroyed in the battle for the city of Kherson and that’s about 20 miles away. Although Ukraine has recaptured the city in November In one of the most important victories of the war, Moscow still controlled territory in the wider Kherson Oblast.

Russian forces used positions on the eastern bank of the Dnipro . River siege of the city of Kherson on the opposite side. But the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Thursday that they were escalating artillery attacks on Russian positions east of Dnipro.

“We are working to make the enemy feel our presence, our pressure.

During the winter, many parts of the region endured weeks without electricity and water Russian forces rain missiles, rockets and drones on energy infrastructure in an apparent attempt to freeze residents.

“We must ensure full recovery and protection of our energy sector!” Mr. Zelensky said in a post on Telegram on Thursday.

But Mr Zelensky said he saw evidence of reconstruction efforts during his trip to Kherson. “The restoration of electricity and water supply is underway here, the medical clinic is being rebuilt and people are coming back,” he said on Telegram.

According to the World Bank, war devastation and loss of livelihoods have pushed more than 7 million Ukrainians into poverty, costing 15 years of development. The bank said the segment of the population living in poverty had grown to 24.1% from 5.5% in the first year of the war.

High inflation disproportionately affecting low-income households, the report said. In the Kherson area, prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 73.5% in December from a year earlier.

The most pressing needs for 2023 — including energy, housing, critical infrastructure and basic services — will cost $14 billion, the report estimates. This week, the International Monetary Fund said it had reached a preliminary agreement to provide Ukraine with a $15.6 billion loan over four years to help narrow the budget deficit and pay for recovery efforts.

The two-day EU summit comes amid heightened tensions with China as European leaders grapple with the consequences of the pandemic. Xi’s visit to Moscow this week. In a joint statement, they said the bloc “calls on all countries not to provide material or other support to Russia’s war of aggression.”

The plans have caveats but represent an important step in military aid.

European leaders also discussed setting aside an additional 3.5 billion euros ($3.8 billion) to reimburse member states for providing military aid to Ukraine, but did not decide on any any specific details.

At the end of the first day of the meeting, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also told reporters that the bloc was holding an international conference to track down Ukrainian children kidnapped by Russia. Ms von der Leyen said the kidnapping was a “war crime” and a “terrible reminder of the darkest times in our history.”

According to another source, as the war has passed its first year, it is leading to “widespread destruction” of Ukraine’s healthcare services. report Released on Thursday, this article by Doctors Without Borders, says the conflict is putting even those far from the front lines in direct danger.

The chronic illness was left untreated, the report said. The villagers were not allowed to leave their homes to obtain much-needed medicines. Some Ukrainians have made perilous journeys through treacherous terrain to seek care because their nearest medical center was destroyed. And some hospitals abandoned by the Russian army have mines planted inside.

The group, an NGO that provides humanitarian medical care, said its teams only worked in Ukrainian-controlled areas despite being asked to do the same in other areas. controlled by Russia.

They said their teams “discovered the presence of anti-personnel mines inside operational hospitals” on October 8, 11 and 15 in formerly Russian-occupied areas in the regions. Kherson and Donetsk and in northeastern city of Izium.

Vincenzo Porpiglia, the group’s project coordinator in Donetsk, said: “The use of mines is very common in frontline areas. “But to see them admitted to medical facilities is shocking – a remarkably inhuman act.”

Anushka Patil, Daniel Victor And Jose Bautista contribution report.


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