Calls for Ukraine ‘Marshall Plan’ as donors pledge $6.5bn

Zelenskiy tells leaders at conference of need for ‘practical steps’ towards EU membership

International donors have raised $6.5 billion in pledges to support and rebuild Ukraine after the devastation of the invasion launched by Russia as leaders called for a new "Marshall Plan" for the country.

The donors conference was co-hosted in Warsaw by Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson and saw a range of countries vow support, along with companies including Google and Covid-19 vaccine-maker AstraZeneca.

Addressing the event, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the spending would be an “investment in the stability” of the whole central and eastern European region.

“How this brutal war will end is decided not only on the battlefield. But also in the aspects of economy, finance, humanitarian support, the ability to ensure a normal life in the territory free from the enemy, in rebuilding what was destroyed by the Russian army,” Mr Zelenskiy told attendees by video link, according to a copy of his speech.


“Freedom must demonstrate that it protects and provides for people better than tyranny, which has enjoyed a massive flow of money for oil, gas and other raw materials for decades,” he said.

“That’s how freedom will win. That is why this conference is important for everyone in Europe. Both strategically and tactically important.”

Attendees of the conference applauded as Mr Morawiecki announced that pledges had reached $6.5 billion (€6.2bn). He told them that while Ukraine needs 12,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid every day, only 3,000 tonnes are managing to get through. The United Nations estimates that 12 million people are in need of support and protection inside the country.

Ms Andersson said there was international support for Ukraine both for its immediate circumstances and to bolster its future. “Ukraine will win this war and we will stand by your side,” she said.

The funds are intended to help meet Ukraine's urgent immediate needs and support future reconstruction efforts. The European Union vowed to work with international partners to help plug a hole blown in Ukraine's state finances by the war that is estimated by the International Monetary Fund to be running at roughly €5 billion a month.

The Solidarity Trust Fund established to help the country should be a new "Marshall Plan", European Council president Charles Michel said in an address.

“I would like to send a personal message of hope and encouragement to all Ukrainians, to the soldiers on the ground, to all the Ukrainians supporting the war effort, and to the millions who have fled the war and long for their homes,” Mr Michel said.

“We will help to rebuild your country and your economy. Your homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses. The future of a safe and prosperous Ukraine.”

Mr Zelenskiy also appealed for Ukraine to be quickly granted the status of a candidate country for membership of the European Union, part of aspirations to one day join the bloc.

“This war of Russia against Ukraine was planned as a prelude to a strike at a united Europe. Greater unification is a powerful answer. That is why Ukraine’s membership in the European Union must be an absolute reality. Not just promises, not just prospects, but practical steps,” he said.

Two Irish Senators, Fine Gael's Barry Ward and Garret Ahearn, arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday as part of a delegation of international parliamentarians intended to demonstrate solidarity and bear witness to the aftermath of apparent atrocities committed against civilians in Russian-occupied areas.

"I think it's tremendously important to remind Ukraine that they're not alone," Mr Ward said as he prepared to visit the hard-hit Kyiv suburb of Bucha and hold meetings with government and parliamentary figures.

“One of the striking things about this conflict is it has united the world in an unusual way – it’s important to communicate that.”

Naomi O’Leary

Naomi O’Leary

Naomi O’Leary is Europe Correspondent of The Irish Times