German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (right) and Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal (back right) attend the German-Ukraine economic forum with the motto "Rebuild Ukraine" in Berlin on Oct 24, 2022 to discuss the post-conflict reconstruction of Ukraine. (MICHAEL KAPPELER / POOL / AFP)
BERLIN / JERUSALEM / BUCHAREST – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday vowed to provide wide-ranging assistance in rebuilding Ukraine, including aid for agriculture, the health sector and the restoration of the country's energy networks.
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"Together with our partners, we will support Ukraine as long as necessary," Scholz said at the opening of a German-Ukrainian Business Forum in Berlin. The restoration of the country will be "a generational task," he said.
Rebuilding Ukraine will cost $349 billion, according to an analysis released last month by the World Bank, the European Union and the Ukrainian government.
This figure is equivalent to one and a half times Ukraine's gross domestic product before the start of the conflict with Russia.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has estimated that the cost of reconstruction in the country will be as much as $750 billion
"Ukraine's needs for recovery and reconstruction are massive — and growing," said World Bank President David Malpass earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has estimated that the cost of reconstruction in the country will be as much as $750 billion.
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Scholz promised that German companies will invest in Ukraine, emphasizing that "whoever invests in the reconstruction of Ukraine today invests in a future EU member state."
Ukraine has been a recognized candidate for membership of the EU since June, and Scholz reiterated Germany's support for its accession. "I am very serious about this commitment, with all that it entails," he said.
In the meantime, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday told his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov that Israel won't provide weapons to Ukraine.
The two ministers talked over the phone and "held a positive discussion," the Israeli defense ministry said in a statement.
Gantz said Israel will not provide weapons systems, citing "the operational limitations" faced by Israel.
However, Gantz offered to help Ukraine in developing an alert system. The ministers agreed "to conduct professional dialogue in order to assist Ukraine in the development of a civilian early warning system," the ministry said.
Reznikov briefed Gantz on the developments of the crisis in Ukraine and Gantz expressed his "condolences regarding the tragic loss of lives, and concern regarding the humanitarian crisis as a result of the conflict," the ministry said.
Last week, Israel offered to help Ukraine develop air strike alert systems for civilians, rejecting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba's formal request to supply Ukraine with the Israeli anti-rocket Iron Dome and other weapon systems to counter Russia's Iranian drone attacks.
Israel has been using its aerial defense systems during frequent conflicts with militants in the Gaza Strip and to guard its disputed borders with Syria and Lebanon.
Romania's Defense Minister Vasile Dincu speaks to media outside the Military Academy during ceremonies marking the 77th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, in Bucharest, Romania, on May 9, 2022. (ANDREEA ALEXANDRU / AP)
Separately, Romania's Defense Minister Vasile Dincu resigned on Monday, saying he could not collaborate with the country's president.
"This morning, I submitted my resignation from the position of minister of national defense to the prime minister," Dincu wrote on Facebook, attaching the text of the resignation letter sent to Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca.
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"I justify my gesture from the perspective of the impossibility of collaborating with the president of Romania, the supreme commander of the Army," he wrote.
"I consider it necessary to withdraw from this position in order not to prejudice in any way the decision-making processes and programs that require fluidity along the entire chain of command and not to block a series of projects absolutely necessary for the optimal functioning of the Ministry of National Defense and the Romanian Army."
Earlier this month, Dincu said that negotiations were the only way to achieve peace in Ukraine, sparking criticism from President Klaus Iohannis and several other senior officials.
Iohannis told journalists that according to Romania's official position, only Ukraine can decide when, how and what it negotiates.