Ukraine's Reconstruction Process 'Already Under Way', U.S. Says, As It Slams Russia For Continued Attacks

Ukraine's Reconstruction Process 'Already Under Way', U.S. Says, As It Slams Russia For Continued Attacks

The Biden administration on Wednesday slammed Russia for its continued attacks on Ukraine and urged the Congress to "act now," TURAN's Washington' correspondent reports.

"The American people support Ukraine, and we cannot abandon them in their time of need," Penny Pritzker, the U.S Special Representative for Ukraine's economic recovery, told reporters at the State Department's Foreign Press Center.

"Let me be clear – 784 days into Russia’s full-scale invasion, the House must act to provide the crucial security, economic, and humanitarian lifeline that Ukraine needs.  And they must act now," she added.

Pritzker went on to add, "There are real consequences to our failure to get Ukraine the assistance that it needs. Vladimir Putin is attacking Ukraine’s energy system, hitting thermal and hydropower generation facilities, substations, and transmission and distribution networks – leaving hundreds of thousands without power.  Ukraine is losing ground on the battlefield because of Congressional inaction, and every single day is only further emboldening Putin’s aggression."

Pritzker's comments came against the backdrop of the latest Russian shelling of Ukrainian cities, including yesterday's missile attack on Chernihiv which killed approximately 16, injured more than 60, including children, and destroyed residential buildings, a hospital.

"This is... another example of a horrific Russian missile attack, this time on downtown Chernihiv, which is only about a two-hour drive from the capital, Kyiv," State Department's Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told TURAN's correspondent during daily briefing.

"The images from these attacks are horrifying... It underscores the need of passing the national security supplemental. Our support for our Ukrainian partners we believe can continue to make a difference in this conflict.  It can save lives, but the House of Representatives needs to act now," Patel added.

Pritzker, who recently returned from Kyiv and Lviv, said that destroying Ukraine’s economy is a part of Putin’s war strategy: "Putin is attacking Ukraine’s energy system, hitting thermal and hydropower generation facilities, substations, and transmission and distribution networks – leaving hundreds of thousands without power."

Answering TURAN's questions, the Special Representative said that the current estimates of Russia's damage in Ukraine are getting close to $500 billion. "I think that number the World Bank uses is $486 billion of estimated damage to Ukraine’s infrastructure, residential buildings, businesses, schools, cultural facilities. And then on top of that the most recent damage that’s been done to the energy infrastructure, I’m sure, will raise those numbers," she elaborated.

While the Biden administration is anxiously waiting for the Congress to pass the supplemental bill, especially as the fate of Ukraine hangs in the balance, it has also started working on Ukraine’s economic recovery along with Kyiv’s other partners, even as Ukraine focuses on defending itself.

"In order to defeat Putin, it is not only going to take a sustained commitment from governments, but also increased private sector engagement, like a business advisory council, to be more agile and responsive to the complex and rapidly changing environment in Ukraine," Pritzker said.

She also went on to add that the Ukrainian economy “just like its military remains alive, active and resilient " and with security, the country "has every right to be able to not only just recover, but also build into a thriving Euroatlantic-oriented country that has the potential to provide goods and services to the global markets."

She concluded:  "Ukraine has talented people, natural resources, a really well-developed tech services sector, and it’s applying all of these capabilities right now not just in business or in commerce, but also in war.  And out of that pressure of war comes ingenuity... There’s an opportunity for the country to emerge from this terrible situation much, much stronger and really being a vibrant contributor to the global economy."

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