London: The UK will back Ukraine’s economy to the tune of $3 billion over the next three years while it fights back against Russian forces, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Tuesday.
More than 1,000 foreign dignitaries from 61 countries along with captains of industry and global investors are expected in London for a two-day conference to help Ukraine get back on its feet.
The International Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023, starting Wednesday, is looking for more help from private-sector investors to strengthen the war-torn nation’s battered finances.
Downing Street said Ukraine’s GDP has taken a 29-percent hit since the start of the invasion in February last year, with Russia targeting the economy as well as its towns and cities.
But the UK backing would help Ukraine unlock vital World Bank loans to help bolster its vital public services, including schools and hospitals.
President Volodymyr Zelensky was looking to the future and was “determined to drive reforms to become more open, more transparent, and ready for investment”, Sunak will tell delegates.
“This is a vibrant, dynamic, creative, European country that refuses to be subdued.
“So, together with our allies we will maintain our support for Ukraine’s defence and for the counter offensive, and we’ll stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes as they continue to win this war.”
Downing Street said more than 400 companies from 38 countries with a combined annual revenue of more than $1.6 trillion had promised to back Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction.
Several multinationals and major corporations, including Virgin, Sanofi, Philips, Hyundai and Citi, have signed the Ukraine Business Compact, to encourage trade, investment and expertise-sharing.
Sunak said he would launch a separate framework to improve investor confidence, working with commercial insurance markets on risks to help meet Ukraine’s future needs.
The UK will contribute an initial £20 million to help reconstruction projects while the conflict is ongoing, and separately up to £250 million of development funding.
Just over half of that will go towards humanitarian support via bodies such as the UN and Red Cross helping communities on the frontline.
In all, the UK has provided £347 million in aid to Ukraine since the start of the invasion.