Full cost of rebuilding Ukraine impossible to quantify, says German Finance Minister

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FILE PHOTO: Rescuers search for bodies under the rubble of a building destroyed by Russian shelling, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Borodyanka

BERLIN – German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Tuesday it was impossible to say how much it would cost to rebuild Ukraine as long as fighting with Russia continues, amid European Union discussions on how to fund further aid for Kyiv.

“The Ukrainian side doesn’t talk a lot about reconstruction. The priority is stopping the war, the priority is securing the functionality of the Ukrainian state,” Lindner said in Brussels after the May meeting of European finance ministers.

“No one can put a number on how great the need is to rebuild the country,” he added.

Providing reconstruction aid to Kyiv was not just the responsibility of Europe, but also international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the private banking sector, added Lindner.

He also alluded to the possibility of seizing Russian state assets to help fund reconstruction – a Ukrainian request which the minister said last week was being considered by the Group of Seven (G7) nations.

Last week, the European Commission proposed setting up a “RebuildUkraine” facility of grants and loans of unspecified size, modelled on the EU’s existing recovery fund for which the bloc jointly borrowed on the market.

It remains unclear how this new fund would be financed, but Lindner reiterated on Tuesday that Germany rules out the issuance of any further joint EU debt and called for a consolidation of EU finances in 2023.

(Reporting by Miranda Murray and Rachel More; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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