In the midst of war, Ukrainian already thinks about the reconstruction of the country

While the war continues to tear Ukraine apart, its finance minister says he sees “first signs” of economic recovery and points to the country’s reconstruction, in an interview with AFP.

“The war continues but there is no escalation like during the first two months” of the Russian invasion launched on February 24, declared Minister Sergiy Marchenko in his office decorated with a yellow and blue national flag, in the historic district of kyiv.

“This is continuing but not at the pace we saw before,” adds the 41-year-old minister who, like many Ukrainian officials, has since the start of the war changed his suit for a more relaxed style and wears a hooded sweatshirt.

Today, the outlook is disastrous for the country, which was already one of the poorest in Europe before the invasion and has seen millions of citizens flee abroad, mainly women and children.

Meanwhile he International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts a collapse of 35% of Ukrainian GDP this year, Marchenko expects a drop of 45 to 50% on his side and assesses the global damage caused to the economy so far at “around $600 billion.”

Revenue from customs duties they fell by 70% and the prosecutors between “25 and 30%”exports and imports were practically halved and inflation exceeded 16% year-on-year in April, it lists.

But after having considered the capture of kyiv, the Russian troops withdrew from the outskirts of the capital and the north, which opened the way for the return of part of the inhabitants and the reopening of businesses.

“Consumer demand is increasing, connections are resuming” in kyiv and its region, congratulates Marchenko, for whom the return of embassies to the capital “gives a signal for citizens to return” and “restart their economic activities” .

means of survival

On the other hand, many companies transferred their activities to the west of the country, which has so far been relatively unscathed from the war, while fighting continues in the east and south and Russian attacks across the country.

Ukraine is not planning any default or restructuring of its external debt, but “we need 5 billion dollars a month to cover our budget deficit,” explains the minister, whose priority task is currently to guarantee the permanent flow of international financial aid.

“We ask for high financial support, but the price is also high. For us it is a means of survival,” says Marchenko.

“Ukraine is currently an outpost of the struggle for democracy. We can’t lose this war and we need weapons, funds and sanctions” against Russia, he adds.

The funds are needed to fight, but also to rebuild this war-torn country.

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky called on the international community to draw up a new “Marshall plan” for his country, referring to the US economic aid program for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II (1939-1945).

“We have to direct the Russian assets seized abroad to rebuild Ukraine,” the minister stressed on his side.

“When the occupier enters Ukrainian territory, he steals. He not only destroys infrastructure and businesses and kills people: he steals grain and mineral resources,” he accuses.

In his opinion, the “critical” infrastructures are the most damaged and must be the first to be rebuilt.

“The main task is to allow people to return to the liberated territories and resume normal life with electricity, water and gas and other infrastructure such as roads and bridges,” concludes Marchenko.

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