Apr 24, 2022
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Issue price: Zelensky demands half a trillion from the West

In the photo: speech by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky via video link

In the photo: speech by the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky via video link (Photo: Picture alliance / Luiz Rampelot / TASS)

President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky estimated Ukraine’s losses during the special military operation at $550 billion. He stated this at a round table within the framework of the events of the spring session of the IMF and the World Bank. According to Zelensky, the country will need about $7 billion a month to restore the economy.

“With your support, we will quickly rebuild our nation, which means new business opportunities from various countries,” he said.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmyhal called even higher figures. According to him, the country’s GDP this year may decrease by 30-50%, and “direct and indirect” losses as a result of the special operation will amount to $560 billion.

“Restoration and transformation will cost us $600 billion,” Shmyhal says.

In addition to the funds that the West transfers to support Ukraine, Kyiv expects to receive the assets of the Bank of Russia and Russian enterprises that were frozen in the West for restoration. This is about 300 billion dollars. In addition, in all European countries, property is being seized and the accounts of Russian billionaires are being frozen. According to the BBC website *, in total, the United States, Great Britain and the European Union have imposed sanctions on more than a thousand Russian individuals and legal entities.

True, the US Treasury said that they are not yet sure whether the frozen assets of the Central Bank of Russia can be sent to help Ukraine, they say, there is no suitable legislation. But, according to experts, the point is rather that the West is not at all ready to allocate such amounts to Ukraine. Financial support for Kyiv will continue, but on the current scale, which is limited to tranches of several hundred million dollars.

During his last performance Joe Biden announced that the United States will send another 500 million to support Ukraine. And although the total volume of Western support (not counting military assistance) has already exceeded several billion, there is a difference between tens and hundreds of billions of dollars, and, apparently, they are not going to fork out like that in the EU and the USA.

– No one will allocate 550 billion dollars to Zelensky and Shmygai, – the political scientist is convinced, Bogdan Bezpalko, Member of the Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations. – Firstly, everyone understands perfectly well that this is money that is required not for the restoration of the state, but for the war, as well as for plundering and for the personal accounts of the elite. State employees, of course, will also get something to demonstrate their concern for the people. But this is minuscule.

Secondly, the amounts voiced by the leadership of Ukraine are cosmic. Neither Germany, nor France, nor the IMF has any desire to allocate such amounts to Ukraine. But all foreign policy players have a desire to support Kyiv in order to make this conflict as protracted and bloody as possible for Russia. I am convinced that most of these players do not doubt the victory of the Russian Federation, but want to make it as difficult as possible, resource- and human-intensive, in order to negotiate with a weakened Russia later. For this, Zelensky will be allocated some amounts, but obviously not in the amount of the appetites that he announced.

Let me remind you that for some reason the IMF did not allocate any funds for the restoration of Libya, Iraq, Syria, although the damage from the many years of civil war and external interventions there was much greater. Why don’t the IMF and the World Bank want to allocate money to these countries?

“SP”: – And what about the blocked Russian assets, Ukraine can count on them?

“It’s a good old Ukrainian tradition to try, if not to make the neighbor’s cow die, then to convince other strong neighbors to hand over this cow to them. But I am sure that more powerful neighbors will act according to the principle set forth in the Russian fairy tale: “You yourself need such a cow.”

Director of the Institute of Regional Problems Dmitry Zhuravlev believes that, theoretically, Ukraine could receive the huge sums demanded by Zelensky if the United States turns on the printing press.

– Zelensky’s demands should be divided into two parts. The first is calls to the World Bank, to the United States, to everyone who supports the “struggle for the independence and freedom of Ukraine.” “Give me money, the country is in ruins, let’s start a new Marshall Plan,” the Ukrainian authorities seem to say.

The second part is the amount of reparations that Kyiv wants to receive from Russia. They still hope to win. Moreover, they are even sure that they will win, otherwise the Mariupol group would have surrendered. They do not give up because they hope that the Polish army will now land in Mariupol and save them. They truly believe in it.

These 550 billion dollars are a sum taken from the ceiling, it is not clear what and how they considered, at what prices. Are compensations for the dead taken into account here? Will houses be restored or new ones built? It all depends on the total amount. It seems to me that this amount is what the Zelensky family needs for a good life. In any case, the citizens of Ukraine will not get this money. Most likely, this or another amount will be one of the conditions of the peace agreement on the Ukrainian side.

“SP”: – Does Russia need to financially participate in the restoration of Ukraine after the end of the special operation?

– Personally, I think that Russia should participate in the restoration of those territories that we have liberated and will not give back to Ukraine. Or participate in the restoration of Ukraine, which is friendly to us, but the question is long.

“SP”: – Will the West allocate the required amount?

– It’s a difficult question. Now the West is forced to participate in the financing of Ukraine, but this will not last forever. As soon as their society calms down, they will immediately close these fenders. Now they have so inflamed their own population that they will not understand if financial support for Ukraine stops.

On the one hand, the amount is large. On the other hand, there is enough paper and ink in America, billions will be printed. There are several unsecured trillions of dollars in the world, well, there will be another 600 billion who will notice it. They can allocate this amount, but they will try to slow down this process, so that as soon as society has calmed down, everything should be curtailed. In addition, they will certainly give funds at interest. Even if it’s under the minimum. It is unlikely that they will give them.

“SP”: – Can the blocked Russian reserves be transferred to Kyiv?

“Basically, the US gave the Afghan reserves to the people who suffered from the September 11 attacks, saying that it was the Afghans who were to blame. This precedent can also be applied to Ukraine, and Kyiv is very hopeful of this. But it is far from certain that they will receive this money, because the Americans themselves like these reserves. They will definitely not return them to us, but they may not give them to Ukraine, but keep them for themselves.

*Included by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in the register of media-foreign agents

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