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Volodymyr Zelensky asks donors for $38 billion as Russia shells Bakhmut

Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday asked the international community to cover an expected budget deficit of $38 billion next year for his war-torn country, with Moscow’s invasion also badly hitting the economy.

Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday asked the international community to cover an expected budget deficit of $38 billion next year for his war-torn country, with Moscow’s invasion also badly hitting the economy.

Fatal Russian shelling meanwhile was pummelling the eastern Donbas city of Bakhmut, where AFP journalists saw smoke rising from fierce battles between Moscow’s forces and Ukraine’s army trying to keep them at bay.

And pro-Russian authorities in the southern Ukraine city of Melitopol, now controlled by Moscow’s forces, said a car bomb had exploded near the offices of a local media outlet injuring five people.

At an international reconstruction conference for Ukraine in Berlin, Mr. Zelensky urged European leaders to offer greater financial support for his country more than eight months after Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into Ukraine.

“At this very conference we need to make a decision on assistance to cover next year’s budget deficit for Ukraine,” Mr. Zelensky said via video-link. “It’s a very significant amount of money, a $38 billion deficit,” he added.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meanwhile said that rebuilding Ukraine would be a “generational task” that must start immediately, even as Russia’s invasion rages on.

“What is at stake here is nothing less than creating a new Marshall Plan for the 21st century – a generational task that must begin now,” Mr. Scholz said.

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