Addressing the conference virtually, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the reconstruction of Ukraine is a “common task of the entire democratic world — all countries, all countries who can say they are civilized.”
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the funding would need to come from grants and loans from partner nations, independent organizations, corporations, and Ukraine’s own budget. But he said Ukraine believes the “key source of recovery should be confiscated assets of Russia and Russian oligarchs.”
The US and EU have seized the assets of Russian billionaires and froze Russian foreign currency reserves, funds totaling about $300 billion. Western officials have explored the idea of using frozen Russian funds to spend on Ukraine, but the step would be a major escalation in the economic campaign against Moscow, as it would amount to outright theft.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrel, had previously said he favored using Russian funds to pay for Ukraine’s reconstruction, calling such a move “full of logic.” In May, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the US was looking at the idea, but conceded that it would “not be legal now.”
According to a document seen by Reuters, the EU’s European Investment Bank pledged to raise over $100 billion for Ukraine’s reconstruction effort. The UK also vowed to help at Monday’s conference and said Ukraine would need a project similar to the Marshall Plan, the US government-funded rebuilding of European nations after World War II.
According to the State Department’s National Museum of American Diplomacy, under the Marshall Plan, the US contributed $13.3 billion in aid to 16 European countries from 1948-1951, the equivalent of $150 billion in today’s dollars.