Germany is organizing a recovery conference for Ukraine ahead of a peace summit in Switzerland

BERLIN — Germany will host a conference on Tuesday to rally support for Ukraine's recovery from the crisis devastation caused by the Russian warsending a new signal of solidarity with Kiev at the start of a week of intense diplomacy.

The two-day Ukraine recovery conference in Berlin, a follow-up to this a similar meeting in London a year ago, ahead of the Group of Seven summit of Ukraine's most important Western allies in Italy and a global peace top in Switzerland next weekend.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskywho last week attended events marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in France, is expected at the meeting, which the German hosts say will bring together 2,000 people from politics, business and other areas.

“Even during the current times of war, Ukraine must continuously rebuild houses, water pipes, hospitals and electricity grids,” German Development Minister Svenja Schulze said in a statement. “People want to continue living in their country, and for that they need electricity, water and a roof over their heads.”

The task of supporting Ukraine's short- and long-term recovery “is too big to be tackled by governments alone – and that is why we expressly invite companies, civil society and municipalities to the conference,” Schulze added.

Among other immediate problems facing Ukraine are the continued Russian attacks on its electricity grid leaders in Kiev have forced nationwide rolling blackouts in recent weeks.

Last year in London, Ukraine's allies pledged billions of dollars in non-military aid to rebuild the country's infrastructure, fight corruption and help smooth Kiev's path to European Union membership.

That focus on reforms remains central this year.

“We are pulling out all the stops so that Ukraine can soon have a seat at the European Union table – because that, in addition to our military support, is the best protection there is,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

On Monday, the head of the State Agency for the Rehabilitation of Ukraine, Mustafa Nayyem, announced his resignation on Facebook. He cited “systemic obstacles that prevent me from effectively exercising my powers” ​​and accused the government of bogging down his agency in red tape.

Ukraine has not had a minister concerned with reconstruction since Oleksandr Kubrakov was fired in May. Nayyem complained that the Prime Minister of Ukraine had excluded him from participating in the Berlin conference.

Zelenskyy, who is making his third visit to Berlin since Russia's full-scale invasion began on February 24, 2022, is also expected to deliver a speech to the German parliament, the Bundestag. A few weeks after the start of the war, he gave a video address to lawmakers.

The Ukrainian president last visited in mid-February, when he signed a bilateral agreement security agreement with German Chancellor OIaf Scholz, one of several agreements the allies have reached with Kiev to show their long-term support.

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Follow the AP's coverage of the war https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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