London to host Ukraine recovery conference, with Zelenskyy expected to address delegates

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The UK will open a recovery conference for Ukraine with a pledge to unlock $3bn (£2.4bn) worth of World Bank loans to help the rebuilding, even as Russia’s war rages on.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will welcome to London dignitaries and diplomats, including Ukraine’s prime minister, the president of the European Commission and the US Secretary of State as well as representatives from companies and international organisations.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, is expected to address the conference virtually. It opens on Wednesday morning and runs for two days.

Setting out the scale of the challenge, Rishi Sunak will say Russia’s full-scale invasion brought Ukraine’s GDP down by 29% last year.

“As we’ve seen in Bakhmut and Mariupol, what Russia cannot take it will seek to destroy,” he will say, referring to two cities laid waste to by Russian fire.

“They want to do the same to Ukraine’s economy. The scale of the challenge is real… but just look at the streets of Kyiv: despite the threat of attack, people are getting on with their lives – and getting on with business.”

He will say that the Ukrainian government is determined to become more open and ready for investment.

“This is a vibrant, dynamic, creative, European country that refuses to be subdued,” he will say.

“So, together with our allies, we will maintain our support for Ukraine’s defence and for the counter offensive, and we’ll stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes as they continue to win this war.”

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As part of a new package of financial assistance, the UK will provide $3bn of World Bank loan guarantees to bolster Ukraine’s economic stability. At the same time, London is pledging £240m in bilateral assistance.

Businesses attending the conference will also pledge to support Ukraine’s recovery.

“We’ll stand with Ukraine as they win the peace and harness all their ingenuity and defiance to build the future they deserve,” Mr Sunak will say.

The prime minister will also launch the London Conference Framework for War Risk Insurance at the summit, which will be backed by G7 members.

The framework outlines support for immediate de-risking measures to increase investor confidence and will guide efforts in working with the commercial insurance markets to unlock private investment to meet Ukraine’s long-term reconstruction needs.

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