Undeniable link between military defence and economic recovery in Ukraine
20 Jun 2024 - 12:58
Source: ©Clingendael - Julia Soldatiuk-Westerveld (blue jacket) during the side event of the Ukraine Recovery Conference

Ukraine’s military and economic defence are deeply intertwined. That was the most emphasised takeaway during the run-up to the annual Ukraine Recovery Conference. Clingendael co-organised a side-event ahead of the conference. Clingendael’s Ukraine researcher Julia Soldatiuk-Westerveld and head of EU & Global Affaris Louise van Schaik were present.

The programme featured a variety of panels and breakout-sessions, each focussing on different aspects of the country’s reconstruction efforts. In the evening, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Yulia Svyrydenko and German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development  Svenja Schulze had discussions about recovery in the European context highlighting the synergy of military defence and economic recovery in Ukraine.

A robust economy and economic development is considered essential to sustain the continuing war effort. Attracting private investment and enhancing human capital – by adopting a new labour code – will be key in the reconstruction process. However, efforts for energy reconstruction, defence industry development, encouraging private investment and motivating Ukrainians to return, will all be futile if the security situation remains precarious due to severe lack of air defence systems.

In recent months, this critical deficit became painfully obvious. Ukraine does not have sufficient air defence systems to keep its cities and critical infrastructure safe. Continuous Russian attacks on energy infrastructure forced Ukraine to adjust its economic growth forecast for 2024 from 5.5% to 4%. Energy security is considered an absolute priority, not only for the (defence) industry and economic stability, but also for basic survival of the population, especially during winter.

The conclusion regarding Ukrainian defence and economic development was clear: you cannot have one without the other.