Warsaw: War-ravaged Ukraine received pledges for $6.5 billion more in humanitarian aid Thursday at an international donor’s conference in Warsaw that sought to get Ukrainians urgent help while still planning for the country’s post-war reconstruction.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, a co-host of the conference, announced that $6.5 billion was raised in donations, eliciting applause from leaders and other officials attending the one-day meeting, including representatives from the United Nations and companies such as Google.
The pledges came from countries and businesses, many of whom attended the conference at Warsaw’s National Stadium in person and others who made their pledges remotely. His co-host, Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, said the sum exceeded their expectations.
Much of the world has responded to the war in Ukraine with an outpouring of humanitarian support. But as the war drags on, the humanitarian needs in Ukraine have grown even more acute. In addition to thousands of killed in the war millions of people have been displaced.
Morawiecki said Ukraine needs over 12,000 tons of humanitarian aid every day, but that only 3,000 tons are getting through. He said the conference shows that the world is not indifferent to Russia’s “genocidal war”.
Andersson said the aim was to help Ukraine both now and later.
“Ukraine will win this war and we will stand by your side,” she said.
European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped the conference could be a starting point for a “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine, referring to a US-sponsored plan that helped revive European economies after World War II.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, addressing the conference by video, echoed Michel in saying that funds for Ukraine mirror the Marshall Plan and repeated the hope that Ukraine could join the EU. He said funding that Ukraine is receiving would be an investment in security for the entire region.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said “hundreds of billions of euros and reforms” are needed to build Ukraine anew and pave its way into the EU.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, who attended in person, said he was grateful for the “crucial help” that’s coming at a time when “the fate of our state is being decided.”
He described his government’s post-war plans to “build back better” with technologically modern urban areas and energy efficient buildings.
“The new Ukraine will be an example for the world,” said Shmyhal.
Google and COVID-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca joined the nations in pledging aid.