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Around 40 countries adopt declaration for Ukraine recovery

Keystone via AP
Swiss President Ignazio Cassis, Minister of Foreign Affairs, center left, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, center right, participate in the round of national statements, during the Ukraine Recovery Conference, in Lugano, Switzerland, Tuesday.

PARIS (Jiji Press) — A two-day international conference on reconstruction measures for war-torn Ukraine concluded Tuesday with the adoption of a declaration for the country’s recovery.

The Lugano Declaration, named after the Swiss city which hosted the meeting, included “guiding principles” for Ukraine’s recovery process.

The meeting was attended by some 40 countries including Japan and the United States, as well as the European Union and NATO.

In the legally nonbinding declaration, the conference participants strongly criticized Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. They noted that reconstruction efforts should be propelled by Ukraine itself, while listing the guiding principles such as transparency, accountability and sustainability.

At the conference, Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Takako Suzuki said that Japan, which has repeatedly recovered from major natural disasters such as the March 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami, will “cooperate with the international community to strongly support Ukraine toward its reconstruction.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, attending the opening ceremony of the conference online, claimed that as Russia is attacking “everything that is of value to you and me,” the reconstruction of Ukraine is “not a local project, not a project of one nation, but a joint task of the entire democratic world.”

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who attended the conference in person, unveiled a recovery plan comprising three stages—restoring essential infrastructure such as sanitary water supply and bridges, rebuilding damaged hospitals and housing swiftly after the end of the war and implementing long-term structural reform in such fields as education, medicine and climate change, as well as digitalization.

Funds necessary for the recovery plan are seen totaling $750 billion. The Lugano Declaration did not include detailed funding measures.

Shmyhal said that Russian assets should be primarily used to finance recovery efforts, as the country instigated the conflict. He proposed using assets of Russian oligarchs frozen by Western sanctions against Moscow.

It is unclear whether the frozen assets can be used for Ukraine’s recovery, due to a lack of a related law in each country.

The financial industry appears cautious about the confiscation of Russian assets as Swiss banks have ties with many Russian oligarchs.

The international conference on Ukraine has been held since 2017, following the collapse of a pro-Russian government there. It had been initially aimed at checking progress on the country’s reform but this time was held as a reconstruction support meeting and co-hosted by Ukraine and Switzerland.