Int'l donor conference in Warsaw raises $6.5 billion for Ukraine
An international donors conference in Warsaw on Thursday collecting funds for Ukraine raised around $6.5 billion, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.
Various nations and international agencies pledged to donate $6.5 billion for Ukraine during a donor conference in the Polish capital Warsaw, the country's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Thursday.
"When Russia brings death, the countries of the free world have to bring aid and I think this conference here in Warsaw showed an enormous amount of solidarity amongst all of us," Morawiecki said.
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.
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.
In a video statement before the pledges were made, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said how the war ends also depends on Ukraine's financial situation.
"Freedom must demonstrate that it protects and provides for the people better than tyranny," Zelenskyy said, calling for a modern version of the Marshall Plan, a U.S. initiative that gave aid to Western Europe after World War II.
The contributions are intended to fund humanitarian support, shore up Ukraine's economy during Russia's invasion and help finance the country's post-war recovery.
Zelenskyy called on the European Union, which supported the conference, to grant Kyiv EU candidate status "right now."
"Ukraine's membership in the European Union must be an absolute reality, not just promises or prospects, but practical steps," he said.
He also called on partner countries to take part in a patronage project in Ukraine "to ensure the full recovery of these regions, cities and industries."
At the conference, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced 200 million euros ($210 million) in new aid for displaced people in Ukraine on the occasion of the conference.
"Today we came together with a clear purpose: to support the brave people of Ukraine, who fight the aggressor and stand up for their freedom," she said.
"Today, the European Union answered the call, once more, to support Ukraine. On behalf of the European Commission, I pledged 200 million euros for Ukraine."
European Council chief Charles Michel for his part said at the conference that "our solidarity efforts will focus on three key areas: humanitarian support, short-term liquidity needs, and reconstruction."
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced at the conference that Germany would provide further financial aid for Ukraine. Berlin has already given 430 million euros to mitigate the consequences of the war for global food security.
"Today we pledge a further 125 million euros for humanitarian assistance and measures to strengthen Ukraine's resistance against Russian aggression," Scholz said.
He added that in order to guarantee the liquidity of Ukraine's state finances, the German government would prepare a further loan of 150 million euros, on top of a first loan of the same amount that had already been disbursed.
Germany would also give another 140 million euros to help Ukraine overcome the economic and social challenges of the war, he said.
Countries such as France, Finland, the Czech Republic, Croatia and others pledged millions of euros to support humanitarian and military efforts in Ukraine.
Google and COVID-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca joined the nations in pledging aid.
Poland and Sweden jointly organized the donor conference with the support of the European Commission and the European Council, and with the participation of representatives from the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Ukraine's GDP to fall by 35% in 2022 as a result of the Russian invasion. According to the IMF, Ukraine has said it will need around $5 billion a month over the next two to three months to ensure the functioning of the government and important state institutions.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says around 5.7 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion on Feb. 24.
An estimated 7.7 million people are displaced within Ukraine, the U.N.'s emergency relief coordinator Martin Griffiths said during the conference.
A separate event for refugees from Ukraine in April raised around $9.9 billion.
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