Sunday, June 23, 2024

Denmark’s assistance in Mykolaiv reconstruction becomes a model for Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction

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The Ukrainian government announced the National Reconstruction Plan in July 2022, when large areas of southern and eastern Ukraine were still occupied. The plan proposed that certain countries in Europe, the United States, and Canada would each be responsible for the recovery of one region. Denmark was not included in the list of candidate countries to offer sponsorship, but was moved into action after President Zelenskiy addressed the Danish parliament on March 29, 2022., When Russia’s brutal attack on Mykolaiv was fresh news. Denmark’s early lead serves as a model for future recovery efforts by other countries working with Ukraine.

Mykolaiv is an important city

Mykolaiv was a prominent shipbuilding center for the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union, and was one of the key Ukrainian cities that Russia focused on after the invasion began in earnest.

In 2022, Russian forces made multiple attempts to capture Mykolaiv, using occupied Kherson as a base of attack. This was followed by several months of bombing, airstrikes and raids by ground forces against fighters and non-combatants in the center of Mykolaiv. In April 2022, the Russian military cut off the water supply to Mykolaiv. Air strikes destroyed critical civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, railway yards, and residences. However, Ukrainian forces managed to resist and the city remained under Ukrainian control. After Ukrainian forces liberated Kherson on November 11, 2022, the situation in Mykolaiv began to improve.

Denmark became one of the most active countries in supporting the rehabilitation of facilities and providing concrete support to many Ukrainian partners. With Danish aid, Mykolaiv and the entire region became a model of recovery, at least in the eyes of the public.

Danish support for Mykolaiv

Denmark’s support for Mykolaiv has been very transparent. Notably, Denmark does not provide direct financial support to Mykolaiv Municipality. This allowed the Denmark-Mykolaiv partnership to become a model for other countries to support Ukraine.

According to Ole Egberg Mikkelsen, Ambassador of Denmark to Ukraine,, Approximately 60 percent of Danish aid sent to Ukraine is directed to Mykolaiv city and region. Oleksandr Senkevich, the mayor of Mykolaiv, explained that Denmark’s assistance also includes technical assistance.

Another notable feature of this arrangement is that Denmark is addressing the specific contemporary needs of the city of Mykolaiv and the region. For example, in late summer and early fall, wildfires occurred spontaneously due to high temperatures. In late September, the Danish Embassy in Ukraine issued a statement regarding the delivery of rapid-acting pumping equipment for rapid fire suppression.

Drinking water remains a major problem for the citizens of Mykolaiv since April 2022 due to Russia’s attack on the irrigation system. Denmark has helped the municipality install more than 60 of his water pumps to ensure the city’s water treatment system continues to operate.

New Russian attacks on energy facilities in Ukraine are expected in the coming winter. Ahead of this threat, Denmark worked with UNDP Ukraine to deploy more than 182 generators to support government, law enforcement, schools, and medical and social institutions in the Mykolaiv region in the event of loss of other energy infrastructure. provided.

The provision of such aid follows one of the many templates available, but the one that is probably the most satisfying for Ukrainians because it shows real aid and eliminates the risk of corruption surrounding foreign aid. is.

Revitalization of the shipbuilding industry in Mykolaiv

The framework of cooperation between Ukraine and Denmark includes the restoration of the shipbuilding industry in Mykolaiv. The operational readiness of at least two of her three local shipyards, the state shipyard and the private “marine” shipyard, declined sharply during the war. The memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries on December 18, 2021 outlines a joint shipbuilding project in which all construction will be carried out in Ukraine, using materials from Ukraine wherever possible, and Denmark will provide the ship design. has been done.

The ship is expected to have both military and civilian use. As pointed out by Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kublakov, the agreement will leverage Ukraine’s existing port infrastructure and access to major rivers. Moreover, the water transport industry will successfully complement Ukraine’s strong agricultural sector.

Russia’s war in Ukraine and the changing security situation in Europe prompted Denmark to strengthen its maritime defenses. In addition to renewing and expanding Denmark’s fleet, a public-private partnership is envisioned that will focus on improving warship construction technology and strengthening procurement chains.

Rebuilding Mykolaiv as a business center

Denmark plans to open an embassy office in Mykolaiv in October 2023, becoming the first country to do so. As Denmark’s Foreign Minister Lars Lökke Rasmussen emphasized in an announcement in early October, rebuilding Ukraine cannot wait until the war is over. Denmark expects to work closely with local authorities and provide know-how in specific areas such as water, energy and waste management.

The Danish Refugee Council also opened an office in Mykolaiv. The DRC is providing water treatment plants and basic building materials to support a war-torn and deprived population.

The support of Denmark as well as other Western partners remains important for Mykolaiv and other cities in the region. Mykolaiv city lacks state and local investment, and this situation will not improve until the end of the war.

Another confusing factor is that the Ukrainian government appears ready to divert tax revenues originally earmarked for local governments to the central budget for the final quarter of 2023 and the entire 2024. In 2022-2023, the Mykolaiv city budget received 46 percent of its budget from the municipality. Tax revenue is now being reallocated. This situation is likely to force Mykolaiv and other cities to seek more concrete partnerships with foreign countries and cities to obtain support to cover basic needs.

Mykolaiv and its community have great experience in cooperation with Denmark. Denmark’s approach to working with local authorities to solve specific pressing problems and develop modern industry in the long term provides a model that other countries can emulate when working on Ukraine’s national recovery plan .

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Kennan Institute.

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