President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Ukraine’s international partners and business representatives to become involved in the implementation of infrastructure and social projects in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions affected by the armed conflict. During his speech at the Ukrainian Lunch in Munich, the head of state said that a global fund had been created to restore the Donbas infrastructure in Ukraine.
“It combines two ‘windows’. The first is for international partners, organizations and foundations. The second is for the Ukrainian fund, which will attract funds from the private sector and individual donors,” the head of state said.
According to the president, the key priorities of the fund are large infrastructure projects, work with local business and its affordable crediting, care for the least protected groups of the population, overcoming the consequences of the war – with a focus on youth, women, children and veterans.
“For the first time such a fund is administered jointly by the World Bank, the Office of the President and the Government of Ukraine,” Zelensky stressed.
In addition, the head of state told about the plans to establish the Ministry of Reintegration and Restoration of Donbas.
“I urge our international partners to join and start fundraising for the reconstruction and reintegration of Donbas together with me,” the president summarized.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said he has the feeling that elections can be held in Donbas this coming fall simultaneously with local elections across the country; at the same time, he did not rule out that the conflict in Donbas could be frozen.
“Local elections held simultaneously across the country unite it. This is an important symbol for me,” Zelensky said in an interview with Interfax.
“Elections in Donbas are possible only after the military actions there are ended and the foreign armed units are withdrawn,” he said.
Germany will allocate EUR 850,000 in 2020 for humanitarian projects of the charity organization ADRA in Ukraine.
“The assistance will be available to people in eastern Ukraine who are particularly affected by the long-lasting conflict. From 2016 to 2019, ADRA’s work was already funded from Germany at EUR 4.6 million. In addition, ADRA will contribute an additional EUR 200,000 from its own funds,” the press service of the German Embassy in Ukraine reports.
The funds will be used to help older people, people with disabilities, single parents, large families, and among them, internally displaced persons. ADRA also plans to improve the humanitarian protection and psychosocial health of victims of conflict with post-traumatic syndrome, among whom there are many children, and provide access to basic services (especially medical and social services) and drinking water. Also, social transport services will be offered to people in need.
ADRA Ukraine is part of the worldwide ADRA network and has been operating in Ukraine since 1993. During its performance, the organization has implemented about 150 assistance projects in 12 regions of Ukraine. After the outbreak of hostilities in eastern Ukraine in 2014, the organization concentrated its activities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
In November, the German-Ukrainian Fund (GUF) will present a new FinancEast program to support micro–, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the government-controlled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, under which it is planned to reimburse up to 50% of the cost of investment projects of enterprises, GUF Executive Director Valeriy Mayboroda has said.
“This program is also co-financed by the EU and its amount is EUR9.5 million,” Country Manager to Ukraine of the KfW Development Bank Kurt Strasser said at a GUF press event in Kyiv on Wednesday.
According to him, these will be subsidies to help medium- and small-sized enterprises that lack access to money over the difficult economic situation, as well as those who are located in the Donbas region.
The FinancEast program is co-financed by the EU through KfW, the GUF Executive Director said.
“The stage of the finalization of contracts and operational guidelines is nearing completion, and from November we will begin the active phase of its implementation,” Mayboroda said.
FinancEast materials indicate that investment projects for MSMEs are medium- and long-term ones for more than 12 months that are related to the purchase, modernization or reconstruction of fixed assets. Under an investment project, financing of current assets up to 20% of its value is allowed.
In 2019, the assets of a current program for lending SMEs in the national currency, which is designed until 2030, grew to EUR14.7 million, or 47%, since the launch of the project in 2017. This program is implemented by the GUF and financed by KfW and the EU.
Since the beginning of the project, 217 enterprises have been funded for a total of about UAH 710 million with an initial budget of the program being UAH 370 million. The average rate is 15.5% per annum. According to Mayboroda, the financial resource of the program was used twice due to the reuse of returned loans.
Partners under the GUF’s program are Kredobank, Ukrgasbank, ProCredit Bank and Bank Lviv. The GUF’s Executive Director said that negotiations with CreditWest Bank were also ongoing on its joining the program.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky says that none of the negotiation formats contain even a hint that in exchange for the liberation of Donbas Ukraine would recognize Crimea as Russian territory.
“As for the proposals, “let us give you the occupied territory of Donbas, and you will give us Crimea,” – it has never been discussed. Moreover, I have not even heard these hints in any format,” he said during his conversation with reporters at a press marathon in Kyiv on Thursday.
In general, he said, negotiations are currently underway with Russia in several formats: “By telephone – about the return of prisoners who are held in Russia, in the Minsk format – about Donbas, and there’s no issue on Crimea even in the Normandy format, “about which we hear only of the upcoming date of the meeting.”
The president also emphasized that at the meeting in the Normandy format he will certainly raise the issue of Crimea.
About 90% of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Donbas are ready to take part in Ukraine’s presidential elections, Head of the All-Ukrainian Platform of Donbas, Head of the Public Council under the Ministry of Temporary Occupied Territories and IDPs Henandiy Borisichev has said.
“We travel a lot around the country and hold many meetings with IDPs. At the end of each meeting we take a so-called sociological poll, based on the results of our meetings, I can say that about 90% of IDPs plan to take part in the elections,” he said at a press conference held at the Kyiv-based Interfax-Ukraine news agency on Tuesday.
Borisichev said about 80-90% of IDPs have already received absentee ballots for voting in the presidential elections in Ukraine.
“Finally, our countrymen have realized that if they do not engage in politics, politics will deal with them, as happened in 2014,” he said.
Borisichev said the all-Ukrainian Platform of Donbas intends ask the top ten presidential candidates to sign on to a public statement pledging to help solve problems faced by IDPs.
The document will set out the candidate’s obligations regarding the support and funding of state programs for providing housing for IDPs, renewing the rights of pensioners from Donbas to pay Ukrainian pensions, ensuring the right of IDPs to take part in local elections, developing and implementing a comprehensive plan for restoring peace in Donbas and the development and adoption of a special law on compensation for victims of the war in Ukraine.