Making Putin pay: Russia must finance the rebuilding of post-war Ukraine

ATLANTIC COUNCIL

By Kira Rudik May 6

Making Putin pay: Russia must finance the rebuilding of post-war Ukraine

Millions of Ukrainians today share the common goal of defeating Russia. As a nation, we know that unless we are successful, Ukraine will cease to exist.

During the first two months of the conflict, the Kremlin’s genocidal agenda has become increasingly apparent. Putin’s troops have destroyed entire cities and butchered thousands of civilians in mass killings that recall the worst excesses of the totalitarian twentieth century. Meanwhile, policies of forced deportation and systematic russification in occupied regions of the country leave little room for doubt that the Kremlin aims to extinguish Ukrainian statehood entirely.

While Russia’s imperial intentions are clear, Ukraine is fighting back and has demonstrated that it is more than capable of defending itself. So far, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have secured an historic victory in the Battle for Kyiv and forced Putin’s army to withdraw completely from northern Ukraine. The focus has now shifted to the eastern front of the conflict, where Ukraine has brought a renewed Russian offensive to a virtual standstill.

Ukraine’s progress on the battlefield is a source of enormous pride for all Ukrainians. However, we are also well aware that even if our troops succeed in thwarting Putin’s criminal plans, we will face the extremely difficult challenge of rebuilding our shattered country. With every new day of destruction, the eventual price tag for rebuilding Ukraine continues to grow.

The task ahead already looks daunting. We must create the conditions so that more than five million Ukrainians who have fled the country are able to return. This means providing housing for those who have lost their homes. It means restoring critical infrastructure across the country and creating employment opportunities for millions who now find themselves without jobs.

Failure to do so will dramatically undermine the impact of any military success. If Ukraine loses a significant portion of its population due to the war, the national recovery will take decades. Without economic development, Ukraine will struggle to integrate into the European Union or provide the security that the whole of Europe needs.

In order to navigate the post-war period effectively, Ukraine will require competent management and a comprehensive strategy. Most of all, the country will need unprecedented financial resources.

Ukrainians know they can count on the continued support of international partners. However, it would be an act of historical justice to make Russia pay for the devastation caused by Putin’s war. Nobody in Ukraine expects Russia to do so voluntarily, of course. Instead, the international community must oblige Moscow to cover the cost of rebuilding Ukraine. 

At present, the US, UK and a number of individual European countries hold hundreds of billions of dollars in Russian assets including over $350 billion of frozen reserves from Russia’s Central Bank. These reserves could serve as the basis for the reconstruction of post-war Ukraine. Russia will certainly not give up on this money without a legal battle. There are also questions over the legality of any attempts to seize and redistribute these frozen assets. It is therefore likely that efforts to make Russia pay will require the adoption of new legislation.

Allocating frozen Russian assets to finance Ukraine’s recovery would not be completely unprecedented. There are numerous examples of the United States using sanctions mechanisms to seize money from rogue regimes including Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. The most effective approach in the current circumstances would be approval of a new mechanism by Congress that would allow the US to use frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine. European countries could also adopt similar acts.

How would Ukraine use Russian assets allocated to the country as reparations? Much would depend on the time required to make these assets available. 

If securing access to Russian assets proved achievable within a matter of weeks, the resulting funds could support the Ukrainian military while providing desperately needed aid for millions of internally displaced Ukrainians and those living in areas recently liberated from Russian occupation. If Russia’s frozen assets only become available to Ukraine following the end of hostilities, they would likely be used to finance major construction works including infrastructure repairs and residential accommodation.

Western leaders must view the task of securing Russian assets as part of broader efforts to support the Ukrainian war effort. The slower they are in providing Ukraine with the weapons, funding and other resources that the country urgently needs, the longer it will take to end the war and the higher the price will be for the eventual reconstruction of Ukraine. More Ukrainian cities will suffer the fate of Mariupol and more Ukrainian civilians will become victims of Russian atrocities.

The clock is ticking. Economies around the world are already feeling the negative impact of Putin’s invasion. If Western indecision allows hostilities to drag on, food shortages will escalate further. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian people will continue to suffer the dire consequences of an unprovoked war of aggression. One way or another, Russia must pay for the invasion of Ukraine. The right time to act is now.

Kira Rudik is leader of the Holos party and a member of the Ukrainian parliament.

A pic of Kira Rudik lifted from the net:

Fox

6 comments

  1. Mafia land must be dismembered and rendered innocuous for all time. There is no other solution except for this final solution.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Kerch bridge coming down is the beginning of the end of Russia in Ukraine. The end of Russia is found in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39:

      Chapter 38
      4  And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: 
      5  Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: 
      6  Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. 
      9  Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. 
      10  Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: 
      11  And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 
      12  To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land. 
      13  Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil? 
      14  Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? 
      15  And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: 
      16  And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes. 
      17  Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them? 
      18  And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. 
      19  For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; 
      20  So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. 
      21  And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. 
      22  And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 
      23  Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD. 

      Chapter 39
      1  Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 
      2  And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: 
      3  And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. 
      4  Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 
      5  Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. 

      Liked by 3 people

      • That bridge is the proverbial icing on the war cake for Ukraine if it should be made to fall into the waters of the Kerch Straight.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I have an additional scripture…GOD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES. OUR BOYS are getting help from God as they are also helping themselves IMHO

        Liked by 1 person

        • One of the best video clips I’ve seen come out of Ukraine was a prayer service being held in the Kyiv subway early in the war. If the clergy called the people to prayer for their nation and war effort, then they are calling on the biggest strength of the nation – it’s relationship with God.

          Liked by 1 person

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