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Losses in Ukraine exceed half a trillion dollars: Ukrainian PM

While Ukraine’s buildings and infrastructure have already incurred approximately USD 60 billion in damage from Russia’s invasion, according to World Bank President David Malpass, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has said Ukraine’s direct and indirect losses totalled USD 560 bn so far.

Mr Malpass told a World Bank conference dedicated to Ukraine’s financial assistance needs, that the early estimate of “narrow” damage costs did not include the growing economic costs of the war on Ukraine.

“Of course, the war is still ongoing, so those costs are rising,” Mr Malpass said.

The conference also featured a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in which he outlined much larger costs and financing needs. He told participants in interpreted remarks that Ukraine needed USD 7 bn a month to make up for economic losses caused by Russia’s invasion of his country.

And we will need hundreds of billions of dollars to rebuild all this later,” President Zelensky said, reiterating his calls on the global community to immediately exclude Russia from international financial institutions, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and others. The official felt that all countries “must immediately be prepared to break up all relations with Russia.”

Ukraine’s economy freefalling

Attending the conference in person, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said Ukraine’s GDP could decline by 30 percent to 50 percent, with direct and indirect losses totalling USD 560 bn so far. The staggering amount equals three times the size of Ukraine’s economy, at USD 155.5 bn in 2020, according to World Bank data.

“If we do not stop this war together, the losses will increase dramatically,” PM Shmyhal said, adding that Ukraine would need a rebuilding plan similar to the post-WWII Marshall Plan that helped to rebuild a war-ravaged Europe.

The embargo on imports of oil, gas & nuclear fuel from russia is an important step in weakening military machine. Emphasized this at the meeting w/ @SecRaimondo. Discussed the issues of trade liberalization. We are strengthening 🇺🇦🇺🇸 cooperation in various directions.

— Denys Shmyhal (@Denys_Shmyhal) April 22, 2022

Russian assets ‘to rebuild Ukraine’

Taking place on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings, the conference included finance officials from a number of countries, among others, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who had said earlier that the US would double its direct non-military aid pledge to USD 1 bn.

President Zelensky called on countries that have imposed sanctions and freezes on Russian assets to use that money to help rebuild Ukraine after the war and to repay losses suffered by other countries.

Ms Yellen said Russia should shoulder some of Ukraine’s rebuilding costs. “It’s clear that the rebuilding costs, ultimately, in Ukraine are going to be enormous,” she said, adding that looking “to Russia one way or another to help provide some of what’s necessary for Ukraine to build is something I think we ought to be pursuing.”

Nevertheless, the secretary cautioned that using seized Russian central bank reserves in the US to rebuild Ukraine would be a “significant step” and one needing discussions as well as agreements with international partners.

“It’s one that you would carefully need to think through the consequences of,” Ms Yellen said. “I wouldn’t want to do so lightly.”

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