Ukraine’s reconstruction “must start now,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told an international conference on Tuesday, where President Volodymyr Zelensky called for his country’s budget deficit to be closed by 2023.
Opening the meeting on long-term support for the country, which has been under attack by Russia since February 24, the German leader affirmed “nothing less than the creation of a new Marshall Plan for the 21st century”.
European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, who attended the conference in Berlin to bring together political leaders and experts, called the scale of the destruction “staggering”.
“The World Bank has estimated the damage at 350 billion euros – which is certainly more than any one country or union can provide alone. We need everyone,” he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a video-delivered speech, asked for support from the international community to balance its budget next year.
“At this conference a decision should be made to close the loophole of the Ukrainian budget deficit next year,” he said. “It’s 38 billion dollars (…) it’s teachers’, doctors’ salaries, it’s social benefits, pensions,” he added.
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