Ukraine - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 21 December 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Goldie Baroness Goldie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 3:00, 21 December 2022

Yes, I heard the noble Baroness’s remark about the repeat of the COP 15 Statement. I understand that there has been a genuine logistics problem with the sheer volume of urgent business arriving in this House. Indeed, I did not expect to be attending to two items on the last day before the Recess, but I am delighted to do so as they are on such important subjects.

Attention is certainly being paid to infrastructure and reconstruction, but the noble Baroness will understand that, whatever plans we develop with our partners and allies—and very good plans are being developed—this anticipates and has to be predicated on some sort of stability and peace within the region. Otherwise, we will not have an environment in which we can safely start addressing that reconstruction. So it is very important to observe that there is still a job to be done in seeing off this illegal attack by President Putin.

On the issues to which the noble Baroness referred, I described in some detail what we have been involved in, but I can provide some more detail that might interest her. We are providing support for Ukraine’s early recovery through the partnership fund for a resilient Ukraine, which is a £37 million multi-donor fund that the UK belongs to. Through this, the UK, alongside other countries, has already provided extensive support for the repair of buildings, as well as other activities in the Kyiv Oblast and other parts of Ukraine.

A UK Export Finance initiative has also committed £3.5 billion of cover to Ukraine to enable support for priority projects, such as infrastructure, healthcare, clean energy and security sectors. Working with the Government of Ukraine, the UK Government have identified an initial eight construction projects to be supported by UK Export Finance. This is all about helping to repair Ukraine’s critical infrastructure, laying the foundations for economic recovery.

Next year, the United Kingdom will host the 2023 reconstruction conference, which will be a very important occasion that will be informed by a lot of the information that has already come into our domain within this Chamber in the last year, not least the report to which the noble Baroness referred. This will be an important development. Obviously, in reconstruction, one imagines that attention will be paid to the most energy-efficient technologies, and one would hope that that would be a matter of explicit consideration. But I repeat that, although we would love to make progress with this, we cannot do so safely until we have got under control the conflict situation that exists in Ukraine at the moment. The best thing that can happen is that this degraded, demoralised and, frankly, immoral Russian Government instruct their troops to withdraw from Ukraine—that would be good news for the Russian people—and then let Ukraine get on with the job of building for the future, with help from friends and allies.