An assessment by Ukraine, the European Commission and the World Bank in the middle of 2023 estimated the cost of reconstruction in the country at nearly €400 billion. The job of rebuilding is expected to stretch over 10 years after the war.
“We are constantly receiving requests from cities about what needs to be purchased and trying to figure how the projects can be started and what is the most important,” says István Heinczinger, a senior transport specialist at the European Investment Bank who’s helping Ukrainian cities modernise their fleets of trams, metros, trolleybuses and buses.
Since 2007, the Bank has invested more than €2.7 billion in transport projects in Ukraine, and this amount is increasing during the war.
“Everything we do is harder right now,” Heinczinger adds. “From contacting city officials, deciding what projects are the top priority of the cities, finding companies to participate in the bidding processes, to locating the supplies and equipment.”
Daily contact with United Nations experts
To accomplish this work, the European Investment Bank is in close contact with United Nations Development Programme project managers working across Ukraine, such as Igor Kistenyov-Kavkazkii. EIB loan officers or engineers are in weekly or sometimes daily contact with experts such as Kistenyov-Kavkazkii.
“There is no doubt that carrying out construction and reconstruction work in Ukraine under conditions of war is a complex task,” says Kistenyov-Kavkazkii, whose UN technical coordination team is partly based in Kramatorsk in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, one of the main areas where the Russian invasion began. “This recovery work we’re doing is crucial for the stability of the state and the support of the population in such a difficult time. There is an urgent need to rebuild. Children need to be able to go to school and receive an education, and people need to be able to access health services.”
‘We have to be patient’
Schools and children are two of the priorities for the reconstruction and recovery. In one example of continuous support, a €1 million loan from the European Investment Bank helped repair the V.I. Vernadskyi grade school in Shyshaky Village in Poltava Oblast in eastern central Ukraine, adding new bathrooms, windows and doors, water lines and heating. The school reopened its doors in September 2023 to 466 students, including children from families that had to move away from fighting near the eastern border.