Russia must pay, says UK PM Sunak at Ukraine Recovery Summit

London: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday opened the Ukraine Recovery Summit here to say that “Russia must pay” for the destruction inflicted on its European neighbour as he announced UK government loan guarantees worth USD 3 billion.

Sunak praised Ukraine’s “ingenuity and defiance” and attacked Russia for trying to destroy the country’s energy grid, which he said is back online and even exporting energy.

The two-day summit is being jointly hosted with Ukraine in London as part of efforts to mobilise international support in favour of the country in its ongoing conflict with Russia.

“It’s clear that Russia must pay for the destruction that they’ve inflicted. So, we’re working with allies to explore lawful routes to use Russian assets,” said Sunak in his opening address.

“The British government will continue to play its full part and I’m proud that today we’re announcing a multi-year commitment to support Ukraine’s economy. Over three years, we will provide loan guarantees worth USD 3 billion,” he said.

World Bank Group President Ajay Banga welcomed the UK government’s “generous” guarantees to support the people of Ukraine at a critical moment.

“The UK’s support is backed by a major signal of intent from world-leading businesses, with more than 400 companies, from 38 countries, with a combined annual revenue of over USD 1.6 trillion, pledging to back Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction in the wake of Russia’s illegal invasion,” said the Indian-origin World Bank chief.

“The World Bank Group is designed to do hard things like helping people rebuild their lives after the devastation. With this support, we will keep delivering on that mission and help Ukrainians imagine a life after the war,” he said.

Sunak also announced the launch of a new “UK-Ukraine TechBridge” to foster investment and talent along with support for green energy as part of a collective effort with global allies and revealed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is putting USD 15 billion into Ukraine over four years, as part of a USD 115 billion commitment by the G7.

“This is a vibrant, dynamic, creative, European country that refuses to be subdued. So, together with our allies, we will maintain our support for Ukraine’s defence and for the counter-offensive. We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes as they continue to win this war,” added Sunak.

He then welcomed “friend” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy virtually to the summit, who once again made a case for full membership of the military alliance North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) saying that Ukraine is already a key part of European defence.

“By building Ukraine, we are building much more than one country: we are building the world, and it will [last] during the lifetime of our generation and after ours. Will it be peaceful? Will it be stable? Will it be democratic? It depends on each and every one of us,” said Zelenskyy.