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Ukraine says its reconstruction to cost $750 billion

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks via video message at the international Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, July 4, 2022.

The rebuilding of Ukraine will cost an estimated $750 billion, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Speaking on Monday at the opening of a two-day international Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, Shmyhal described as "massive" the extent of destruction in Ukraine.

Shmyhal, who said the Russians alone were to blame for the extreme damage, called on Western countries to each appropriate Russia’s foreign assets and hand them over to Kiev to spend on what it wanted.

“They caused this massive destruction, and they should be held accountable for it," Shmyhal argued, adding, “We believe that the key source of recovery should be the confiscated assets of Russia and Russian oligarchs."

Earlier in the day, reports from London indicated that UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was supportive of the idea.

Truss raised the matter with UK parliamentarians that Russian assets in Britain be confiscated and given to Kiev to spend on reconstruction, or distribute among the victims of the conflict in Donbas.

Moscow has warned that the Kremlin would not take the confiscation of Russian foreign assets lightly and that it would take retaliatory measures against countries engaged in acts of hostility against Moscow.

Following the Russian military campaign in Ukraine, the US, Britain and other Western countries announced a slew of sanctions targeting Moscow's elites, and key industries, cutting the country's access to the international financial system.

Last month, Canada set a precedent by seizing the assets of sanctioned Russian individuals and companies and using them to compensate victims of the Ukraine conflict.

Russia launched its "special military operation" in eastern Ukraine in late February. At the time, Russian President Vladimir Putin said one of the goals of the operation was to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Since then, the United States and its European allies have been sending a flood of advanced weapons into Ukraine. 

The Kiev School of Economics has estimated the damage so far to buildings and infrastructure at nearly $104 billion and that Ukraine's economy has already suffered losses of up to $600 billion.


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