Former Ukrainian PM says it could cost $1 trillion to rebuild its economy

Yulia Tymoshenko tells Killarney Global Economic Summit her country has shown great resilience since Russian invasion

Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister of Ukraine, has said it could cost as much as $1 trillion to rebuild its economy once the war with Russia comes to an end.

Ms Tymoshenko was one of the co-leaders of the Orange Revolution in the early years of the century and served two separate terms as prime minister between 2005 and 2011. She was later imprisoned for what her supporters said were trumped-up charges by a Russian-supporting government.

Speaking in Killarney, where she was a keynote speaker at the Global Economic Summit, Ms Tymoshenko said the World Bank estimate of restoring her country’s economy was about $500 billion. “In fact, I think this figure is already approaching $1 trillion,” she said.

Ms Tymoshenko told the summit that damage from the war was estimated at $155 billion as of January 2024.

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“It is clear that the postwar recovery will require not only funds from other states and international financial institutions, but also direct private foreign investment. I would also like to remind you of the more than $370 billion in frozen assets of Russia.”

She said that as of today, only €80 billion of that sum had been pledged internationally. “The reason is obvious – there is still a war going on.

“Therefore, today, in order to win this war and win the peace after the war we all need to act quickly, on time, and even better, proactively,” she said. “My message to you is that we need to prepare now, before the war ends, for a major postwar reconstruction and modernisation of Ukraine, which will continue its movement towards the EU.”

She said that Ukraine had displayed great resilience during the war. Its economy was in freefall after the invasion, with GDP falling by a third. Two years later, she said, the picture had changed dramatically.

“Ukraine’s economy grew by 5 per cent last year. Inflation is under control. International businesses have demonstrated their resolve by continuing to operate in Ukraine despite the war. European Union member states began negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU. The Ukrainian people have united to rebuild and reform. Ukraine has not fallen.”

Ms Tymoshenko said the country’s maritime “grain corridor” had fond new logistics routes, and overcome the energy deficit caused by Russian bombing of power stations and power lines. “Ukrainian energy companies and active citizens have implemented energy decentralisation by installing generating plants, mostly from renewable sources.

“Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, 114MW of wind power plants have been installed and commissioned, which is enough energy for at least 200,000 households.

“In 2022 and 2023, in the midst of the bombing of critical infrastructure, more than 660 megawatts of clean energy were commissioned. This demonstrates our ability to adapt and modernise under difficult conditions.”

She said that during her own difficult times, including her imprisonment, several Irish politicians, namely taoiseach Enda Kenny and former president of the European Parliament Pat Cox, had been great friends to her.

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