Vladimir Zelensky delivers a speech at the Berlin conference (Photo: Getty)

EU leaders have gathered to launch a “new Marshall Plan” for recovery Ukraine after the war – describing it as a generational task that needs to be started now.

German leader Olaf Scholz compared the problem to the US financing of the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.

Addressing the talks in Berlin, Mr Scholz said: “This is no ordinary donor conference. This is something deeper… no less than the creation of a new Marshall Plan for the 21st century.”

It was called, he emphasized, for EU leaders to discuss how to ensure and how to maintain financing for the recovery, reconstruction and modernization of Ukraine for years and decades to come.

“We don’t know yet when this war will end, but it will end,” Scholz added.

“We also know from our own historical experience that reconstruction is always possible and that it is never too early to undertake this task.”

A Russian soldier walks past the site of an explosion in Zaporozhye (Photo: EPA)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal at the opening of the conference (Photo: EPA)

He told EU leaders that Ukraine has a $17bn (£15bn) “rapid recovery” plan to repair damage to hospitals, schools, transport and energy infrastructure and other facilities. “At the moment we have not received a cent [its] implementation,” he said.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that in addition to long-term aid, “Ukraine needs rapid rehabilitation right now” before winter.

She added: “We have no time to waste. The scale of destruction is staggering. We need all hands — the G7, Europe, the US, Canada, Japan, the UK, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and many others.”

Kyiv estimated that the reconstruction would cost $750 billion (£650 billion). Speaking at a video conference, the President of Ukraine Vladimir Zelensky stated that Russian missiles and “kamikaze” drones destroyed more than a third of the country’s energy infrastructure.

Eurovision 2023

Ukraine will choose its candidacy for the Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool live from the bomb shelter. About 299 performers claim the success of this year’s winner Kalush Orchestra, which will take place on December 17 in Kyiv.

Britain, whose performance by Sam Ryder came second, will host next May’s final from Ukraine after the European Broadcasting Union said Russia’s invasion had made the event there unsafe.

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Ukraine will need a ‘new Marshall Plan’ after the war, say EU leaders