Ukraine and its international partners agreed on Tuesday to seven principles for the reconstruction of the war-torn country, wrapping up a two-day conference in Lugano, Switzerland, writes MIA.
“This is the start of a long process,” Swiss President Ignazio Cassis told the roughly 1,000 delegates. The declaration provides a commitment to a democratic process involving all parts of society. Aims include transforming Ukraine into a green society free of carbon dioxide, switching to a digital administration and eliminating nepotism and personal enrichment in reconstruction projects.
“The recovery process has to be transparent,” the declaration says. “The rule of law must be systematically strengthened and corruption eradicated.”
Ukraine was recently ranked 122 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s corruption index. The Ukrainian government presented the conference with its first comprehensive reconstruction plan on Monday, with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal putting the cost of rebuilding the country at $750 billion. The talks in Switzerland took place against the backdrop of renewed Russian efforts to seize full control of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, after its forces captured the key city of Lysychansk on Sunday. With Luhansk now under Russian occupation, efforts now appear to be focusing on the neighbouring Donetsk province, where Ukraine’s army claimed on Monday to have repelled several Russian advances. Across the border in Russia, the governors of Bryansk and Kursk region once again accused Ukrainian forces of shelling their territory. No injuries were reported, however.
The Ukrainian side does not usually comment on these accusations. President Volodymyr Zelensky meanwhile reprimanded Ukraine’s military leadership after his defense ministry banned men of conscription age from leaving their home towns. “I promise the people to clarify the matter and further request the general staff not to take such decisions without me,” he said, in response to what he called “incomprehension” and “outrage” in from the public. Earlier, Army Commander-in-Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi and the general staff had said conscripted Ukrainians needed permission to leave their place of residence. After a social media backlash, this was amended to be only necessary for leaving one’s district.
The military cited a legal norm from 1992 as grounds for the move. Many Ukrainians don’t currently live in their place of registration, having fled to other parts of the country in the wake of Russia’s invasion. Ukrainian men between the ages of 18 and 60 are subject to military service and have not been allowed to leave the country since martial law was imposed. From October, women in certain occupational groups will also be subject to military service. Zelensky also renewed calls on Tuesday evening for the West to deliver modern missile defense systems to Ukraine. He warned that while there had been no air raid sirens sounding for some time in the capital Kiev and in many other cities, “the Russian army does not take any breaks.”
Russia meanwhile moved closer to adapting its economy more closely to military needs with the first reading in the lower house and initial approval of a corresponding package of amendments. Under the changes, individual industries could be obliged to supply the armed forces and workers could be forced to work nights, weekends and public holidays, as well as to forego holidays. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said increased pressure on Russia from sanctions and Western arms deliveries to Ukraine were among the reasons the legal changes were necessary.
The amendments still have to be passed in second and third readings, as well as approved by the upper house of parliament, and signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin before they come into force. Meanwhile, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, called for the nationalization of companies that manufacture microelectronics for satellites. Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Since then, Moscow has repeatedly stressed that everything is “going according to plan” in the “special military operation,” as the war is officially called.