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Japan involved in restoring Donbas

Japan involved in restoring Donbas
Article by: Yevhen Solonyna
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Kyiv – Ukraine and Japan signed an agreement on the financing of the restoration of Donbas. According to it, the Japanese government is giving 6 million USD to restore social institutions on the freed territories in the Ukrainian east. Ukrainian officials assure they have a plan to restore Donbas, and that the Ukrainian government continues to finance it as well. Experts consider social services on post-conflict territories a key characteristic of the restoration of peace and concern the state has for its citizens.

The Japanese government will help Ukraine restore the institutions that provide various social services in the freed districts of Donbas, which had been ruined by war. The agreements were signed on Thursday by the representatives of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, the Japanese government and the UN Development Program. Japan is lending assistance in the form of $5,78 million dollars, the UN will coordinate their usage in Ukraine.

Japan should be together with the Ukrainian people in these hard times, explains Japanese Ambassador in Ukraine Shigeki Sumi

“We support the project to restore Ukraine’s infrastructure with a sum of almost six million dollars. We lament the fact that the conflict continues despite the Minsk Agreement. Many people feel abandoned, and this pains them. We feel we have to help the citizens of Donbas. Japan will be with the Ukrainian people in this hard time,” the ambassador said.

Hroysman: we have a plan to restore Donbas

The Ukrainian government spends numerous resources to normalize life on the freed territories, and Japan’s assistance is very expedient, state Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Regional Development of Ukraine Volodymyr Hroysman said during the signing ceremony.

“The aggression Ukraine suffered led to extraordinary losses. We will stop aggression using international efforts, restore normal life on the territories that have been freed from occupants, terrorists and the Russian army. We thank Japan and the UN for help. On its part, the government approved a plan to restore Donbas, and has already given the first 300 million UAH for this purpose. I recently met with the representatives of the World Bank and other international institutions, we will finish work on the plan together,” Hroysman noted.

The agreements between the government of Japan, Ukraine, and the UN demonstrate that Ukraine and the global community is partial to the fates of regular people who live in the conflict zone, stated director of the Center of Near East Studies Ihor Semyvolos. To his mind, there are no obstacles that would prevent international assistance from reaching certain localities of the Ukrainian East.

“This is an important step, and yet another piece of evidence to the fact that Ukraine cares for the citizens of Donbas at the international level. This help will facilitate obvious change: restoration of old social services, emergence of new ones. These social services for regular people symbolize restoration of peace,” thinks the expert. “I recently returned from Luhansk oblast and I can assure you: renewal of the social infrastructure is exactly what the locals need.”

The funds needed to restore the objects that were ruined in the conflict zone in the East of Ukraine, according to various calculations, amount to several billion Hryvnia. In the middle of summer, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk noted that the losses the infrastructure suffered from war constituted eight billion Hryvnia at the time. Since then, Ukrainian towns and villages have suffered more damage, however Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development Volodymyr Hroysman was unable to name the end sum of losses to the journalists. At the same time he did not exclude the possibility that the given assistance may be sent to the territories of the Ukrainian East which will be freed in the future.

Meanwhile Japan this year gave financial assistance to Ukraine on a sum of over 1,5 billion USD, and as such, it is one of the countries that made the biggest investment in stabilizing the situation in Ukraine after the annexation of Crimea and the beginning of the armed conflict in Donbas.

As such, the first tranche of financial assistance from Japan regarded supporting import of critically important goods and services, assistance in conducting tax reform, developing the energy industry and purchasing medical equipment. The second assistance package from the Japanese government prescribed help to forced migrants, funds to equip children’s hospitals and restore the work of social institutions. According to preliminary calculations, about 800 thousand Ukrainians became forced migrants because of the events in Donbas and Crimea.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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