The world is concentrating on the recently launched offensive for the liberation of Ukraine. Ukraine can and must win. The aggressors must be driven out and peace must be on Ukraine’s terms.
It must be clear to everyone that the violation of sovereignty will not continue, the self-determination of peoples will not be ruled out and that brutality and economic blackmail will not win. But once you win the war, how do you protect the peace and ensure the rebuilding of a prosperous, democratic Ukraine free from the threat of renewed Russian terror?
The priority is a security agreement between allied countries. This would provide the necessary security guarantees for the immediate future and would create a safe path for Ukraine’s eventual NATO membership. With its sovereignty protected, our ally can focus on promoting its economic security and, ultimately, its prosperity.
We need to make sure that our supply of defensive weapons systems is absolute; now is not the time to hold back unless we accept more atrocities against Ukraine. We also need a Financial Ramstein, perhaps on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 meetings, to make sure we throttle Putin’s war machine by stifling its ability to self-finance.
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But today I want to focus on the reconstruction of Ukraine. It will not be a small project. Putin’s barbarism has wreaked havoc, destroying entire cities and towns, leveling schools and hospitals, and submerging vast tracts of homes and farmland with the destruction of the Kakhovka dam. This ecological disaster is the worst act of man-made environmental terrorism in my life.
The World Bank estimates that rebuilding Ukraine could cost $411 billion, requiring huge public and private investment over the next ten years. More is likely to be needed as the Kremlin continues to pursue a policy of terrorizing civilians by attacking key infrastructure and industries. President Zelenskyy has stated that his vision is to make Ukraine a center of clean energy. This is admirable and doable, but only if the international community supports an ambitious Green Marshall Plan. So how do we achieve that?
Today, leaders from around the world will gather in London for the Ukraine Recovery Conference. The UK should use this as a starting point to help mobilize substantial international support and harness considerable private investment. President Zelenskyy’s green vision for Ukraine includes developing a hydrogen and renewable energy sector to power the country and export electricity across Europe, helping reduce the continent’s dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.
There is no doubt that the renewed illegal invasion of Ukraine has been a wake-up call for the West. The invasion of Russia has exposed the vulnerability of our energy and food systems. It spurred European countries to accelerate a new generation of clean energy to replace Russian oil and gas. By the end of the decade, the EU aims to have 45 per cent of its electricity coming from renewables, while in the UK we aim to increase our offshore wind sector by up to five times and we should also look at onshore wind . The transition to renewable energy will help protect us from Putin’s energy war and future fossil fuel crises.
Given Putin’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, including nuclear and hydroelectric plants, reconstruction must take energy production into account. In addition to contributing to Ukraine’s security, clean energy would signal its values and direction after the war, joining the ranks of European nations fighting climate change and lessening democracies’ reliance on authoritarian petrostates.
We must learn that we cannot have energy security, with all the implications that has for growth, security and homes, while we are dependent on fossil fuels. The UK experience shows how dependence on oil and gas leaves us exposed to the volatility of international markets. Given the scale of Russia’s fossil fuel production and reserves, even countries with little direct dependence are also vulnerable to Kremlin energy blackmail. The UK only imported about 3% of Russia’s gas before the war, but we have suffered along with countries like Germany, which imported about 50%.
In London we have an opportunity to galvanize global support for a Green Marshall Plan for Ukraine. To make sure we put Ukraine and its allies across Europe on a more sustainable path for our collective energy needs and shared security. Now is the time to not only give Ukraine everything it needs to defend itself, but also to ensure that we provide the security infrastructure necessary for long-term freedom, as well as a Green Marshall Plan to ensure long-term stability and prosperity. term.