Explain Ukraine 14:05 10 Jun 2024

Why Ukraine rebuilds during the war

After two years of Russia’s full-scale war, the recovery of Ukraine has been a topic of ongoing discussions. While hostilities continually create unsurmountable challenges and risks for Ukraine’s present and future, Ukrainians, wherever possible, are rebuilding what was destroyed. Some may say it should not be on the top priority list in wartime spending and that rebuilding during the war is counterintuitive. So, why is Ukraine doing it? Rubryka answers.

Armies win battles, but economies win wars

According to the World Bank, rebuilding Ukraine will cost $486 billion over the next ten years. While Western partners show they are willing to support Ukraine's reconstruction financially, Ukrainians believe they need a stronger economy to be less dependent on aid from their friends.

Russia has already caused much damage to Ukraine's economy by occupying agricultural regions and continuing attacks on critical infrastructure. To sustain economic stability, Ukraine needs to rebuild roads, bridges, factories, and ports for better logistics, trade, and export opportunities, providing funding for the army to end the war and reducing the cost of broader reconstruction.

The reconstruction of the Irpin bridge

The reconstruction of the Irpin bridge, which was destroyed at the beginning of the full-scale war, April, 2023. Photo: Guardian

Recovery during hostilities also helps grow businesses and create new jobs and housing. It improves the country's economic potential, attracts Ukrainians abroad to return home, and prevents more people from leaving Ukraine for good. If displaced Ukrainians are given a chance to return to their hometowns, they will likely improve local economies. The return of Ukrainian refugees will grow Ukraine's human capital and lessen the burden of foreign countries providing shelter.

That is only one reason why Ukraine rebuilds during the war, but there is so much more.

Long-term planning

why Ukraine rebuilds during the war

The renovation of an apartment building in Trostianets, Sumy region, May 22, 2024. Photo: State Agency for the Restoration and Development of Infrastructure of Ukraine

The Ukrainian government earmarked $271 million for the recovery of Ukraine in 2024 to support seven programs to sustainably rebuild towns affected by war and restore critical and logistics infrastructure. Ukrainian non-profit organizations founded by resilient activists, like Repair Together and Brave to Rebuild, also create initiatives to rebuild homes in war-battered villages and towns.

Both independent and state projects will help Ukrainians gain the needed experience and skills for future rebuilding and speed up the recovery after the war. If Ukraine lays the groundwork for future reconstruction, the country will be able to transition more smoothly into peacetime and downsize the cost of the war. Effective rebuilding can also improve Ukraine's prospects for foreign investments.

Ukrainian resilience

why Ukraine rebuilds during the war

A volunteer team from the Repair Together project cleaned up destroyed homes in the village of Lukashivka, Chernihiv region. Photo: Mykola Tymchenko/Rubryka

Why Ukraine rebuilds during the war is not really a question to Ukrainians. Culturally speaking, Ukrainians are not the kind of people who sit idly by and wait for problems to disappear. The imaginative innovations Ukrainians developed to support their brave resistance against the Russian onslaught proved that Ukraine is a resilient nation of hardworking problem solvers who inspired the international community to believe in and help Ukraine.

While the Ukrainian soldiers defend their country and people, civilians keep a strong rear, rebuilding infrastructure, homes, schools, and more to show their army that they maintain Ukraine's development and that soldiers will have improved communities to return to. Besides providing comfort and purpose to their defenders, civilians also foster their hope for a better future for Ukraine as a country where they want to continue living.

Find out more about Ukraine's recovery

Rubryka continues reporting on inspiring and effective recovery solutions Ukrainians create to rebuild their country. Our media is one of the founding members of the Recovery Window Network that supports the media coverage of Ukraine's rebuilding. Within the Network we initiated Recovery Window, a special project where we cover stories about Ukrainian reconstruction projects. We also supported the launch of a UA Recovery Window Media Network aggregator, where you can find factual and transparent reports about Ukraine's recovery from Rubryka and other participating organizations.


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