The Restoration of the “Rebellious” Donbass After Five Years of Civil War Was Estimated at €372 Million

Why in Kiev did they start to evaluate the restoration of the Southeast of the country on the most modest scale?

How much will the restoration of the “rebellious” Donbass cost – this question permanently disturbs Ukrainian government structures. At the same time, estimates of financial injections into Eastern provinces in Kiev vary from year to year – and dramatically.

At the “investment forum” in Mariupol the Deputy Head of the Administration of President Zelensky, Sergey Trofimov, said that the restoration of the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions “after the completion of hostilities” will cost… €372 million. An official who is close to the president estimated the restoration of transport infrastructure to be at €200 million. He “earmarked” 72 million for the restoration of houses damaged or destroyed during the fighting – they, according to general, estimates, are not more than 6,800. According to the current administration, the Yasinovataya and Volnovakha districts in the Donetsk region and Popasnaya and Stanichno-Lugansky districts in the Lugansk region were the most affected.

But a little more than a year ago, the adviser to the fifth president of Ukraine Aleksandr Paskhaver stated that it will take more than €50 billion (!) to restore Donbass. And it could take more than 10 years.

So how much can it cost to restore the once most powerful industrial two regions of Ukraine – “Komsomolskaya Pravda” asked the former Speaker of the Parliament of Novorossiya and Deputy of the Rada of the fourth convocation Oleg Tsarev.

Why were such modest figures given by the official of the administration of Zelensky – against the background of multi-billion sums announced under Poroshenko?

“The truth is somewhere in the middle. There is now a real lot of work being done in Donbass to restore roads and other infrastructure. And this infrastructure – except for the airport and several bridges – is not in worse condition than in present-day Ukraine. On the other hand, Donetsk airport alone, which cost more than $700 million, is today smashed into pieces. Doesn’t this have to be rebuilt? And how many houses have been destroyed, how many people have lost their homes? Therefore, the amount, of course, is much more than 372 million. Unless Kiev counts only ‘its own’ parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.”

No independent audit on the damage done to Donbass from the war over the past five years has happened?

“No auditors came, nobody made evaluations at the place of losses.

Whose money should be used to restore Donbass?

“Everyone says that it is necessary to do an international fund. A regional restoration fund. Lots of mines were flooded. A lot of businesses stopped. There are problems both on the Ukrainian side and on the territory of the Republics. And if we calculate all the consequences, it’s not in the billions, it’s in the tens of billions of dollars.”

I.e., Kiev and its close comrades-in-arms in Eastern Europe certainly won’t pull the plug on the restoration of the Southeast of Ukraine?

“Ukraine actually wants Russia to do it, completely at its own expense. With regard to real international practice, there is usually a group of donor countries that either lend or otherwise invest. Think back to the post-war Marshall Plan, which helped rebuild Western Europe – first and foremost, western Germany.”

I.e., as usual, everything will now fall on Russia?

“In the case of Donbass, I think that Russia won’t remain aside. And the US also – there is 2% of GDP allocated for assistance programs to different countries. And Europe will not stay away. After all, if the war finally ends, the losses of European countries and Russia in the hundreds of billions of dollars will stop. And against this background, spending some amount – maybe several billion dollars – to rebuild Donbass, out of the money saved, is quite reasonable.”

Speaking of these multibillion-dollar losses, you mean…

“… Mutual losses from sanctions.”

It turns out that it is not about hundreds of millions, but about billions, if not tens of billions of dollars of investments in the restoration of Donbass?

“It is important how precisely to restore. It is possible to repair several bridges and build the airport and say – now everything is free and calm. And keep within relatively small money. And you can invest in truly developing this region.”

And Kiev in general in the last 5 years had real statistics concerning Donbass?

“In 2014 we held a meeting in the summer – the state apparatus was just being created there. And in general for all state structures it was necessary to consider what is destroyed and what is intact. I recruited my assistant in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. He went to the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine and took statistics. It turns out that all services continued to work after the referendum in Donbass – and properly supplied data to Kiev. So I received the most accurate data from the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine – how many buildings have been destroyed in Donbass, how many roads, how many bridges. Comprehensive information.”

Igor Emelyanov

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