Staunton, May 10 – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says that Putin’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine has inflicted more than 600 billion US dollars in property damages and that Moscow should be forced to pay for this, with the West seizing Russian holdings in banks abroad as a down payment on what will be an enormous program of rebuilding.
The Ukrainian leader stressed that Russian forces have inflicted widespread damage on residences, churches, and synagogues; and he pledged to rebuild everything (ukrinform.ru/rubric-ato/3473908-zelenskij-mariupol-eto-vyzzennyj-gorod-v-harkove-ze-razrusena-pataa-cast-vseh-zdanij.html, meduza.io/feature/2022/03/27/razrushenie-muzeev-teatrov-i-hramov-eto-voennoe-prestuplenie and meduza.io/episodes/2022/05/10/iz-za-voyny-razrusheny-mariupol-i-drugie-goroda-ukrainy-kak-ih-budut-vosstanavlivat-i-kak-eto-proishodilo-posle-vtoroy-mirovoy).
Because so much of the damage involved civilian targets, it is virtually certain that Russia has committed war crimes in this regard and must be held accountable for its actions by compensating Ukraine and allowing it to rebuild. But just how large a task this is currently beyond calculation.
Not only do Russian forces continue to attack and often destroy civilian targets but the amount of damage they have done so far in Putin’s war is still beyond calculation. And so the final bill which Russia should be made to pay is almost certainly beyond the figure that Zelensky cites.
Western countries need to consider a new Marshall Plan to support the recovery of Ukraine. In the absence of such funding from either seized Russian assets or Western assistance programs, there is a great danger that Ukraine will not be able to recover quickly even once the war does end.
And such destruction unless it is repaired with alacrity almost certainly could give rise to the destabilization of social and political conditions in Ukraine, something that in turn would give Putin an undeserved victory even if the world concludes that he has failed in his military attack on that country.