Ireland has offered to “adopt” a region of north-western Ukraine whenever the reconstruction of the country begins following the Russian invasion.
Rivne Oblast, which borders Belarus, has a population of 1.5 million and an area of 20,000sq km. It is mostly a rural, agricultural area.
The oblast’s chief city Rivne was heavily shelled during the early stages of the war and 19 people died when a rocket hit a TV tower in the city. The region is also home to one of Ukraine’s four nuclear power plants.
At Lugano in Switzerland on July 4th and 5th, 40 countries made pledges to help parts of Ukraine to recover from the war and to concentrate their efforts on separate regions.
The estimated cost will be $750 billion which will be partially paid for by repurposing frozen and seized Russian oligarch assets.
Among the other donor countries include Germany (Chernihiv), Canada (Sumy), the United States and Turkey (Kharkiv) and Poland (Doentsk). Each oblast (regional authority) has been adopted by countries wishing to aid the Ukrainian reconstruction.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney have already confirmed Ireland will be part of the scheme.
In a statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Ireland has taken “careful note” of the suggestion from the Ukrainian government that EU member states could be asked to concentrate their assistance on a particular region of Ukraine.
“We will review this in the context of the wider plans of the international community for recovery and reconstruction through the rebuilding Ukraine platform and in discussion with EU partners,” the department said.
“Ireland will build on our decades of experience in development assistance globally to ensure the most effective and impactful response. We will assess all options carefully, in close consultation with the Ukrainian authorities.”
The Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko confirmed that Ireland has offered to rebuild Rivne, but she stressed that it only at the proposal stage yet.
Ms Gerasko unveiled a photographic exhibition in Leinster House of photographs taken at the start of the war by Ukrainian photojournalist Maks Levin.
Mr Levin documented the start of the war before being shot by Russian soldiers on March 13th, 2022. According to a report published by Reporters Without Borders, he was executed by Russian soldiers.
Ms Gerasko said she hoped the exhibition “will remind us of the atrocities brought to Ukraine by the aggressor and that we must do everything possible to bring Russia to accountability for all its crimes against humanity in Ukraine”.