A joint statement signed yesterday, October 19, by United States Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov established the U.S.-Ukraine Infrastructure Task Force that will address how to rebuild Ukraine’s infrastructure and energy resources following the ongoing hostile invasion of the Eastern European country by Russia.
Since war first broke out on Ukrainian soil in late February Russian forces have decimated cities and towns across the country, paying no mind to the historic and cultural significance or necessity of the sites. News of the task force formation comes just days after Russia altered course to focus its military tactics on destroying Ukrainian infrastructure. This includes power plants and water facilities along with roadways and other transit structures. A report from Associated Press cited that 40 percent of the country’s electricity system has been “severely damaged.”
“Since the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States remains a key ally of Ukraine. With today’s statement, we are moving to a strategic level of cooperation in the field of infrastructure,” said Kubrakov in a statement. “As we move to create a joint task force, these efforts will contribute to this cooperation. We envision an effective model of cooperation focused on implementation of specific projects, and we look forward to the participation of U.S. businesses and experts in Ukraine’s reconstruction.”
“We’re proud to establish the U.S.-Ukraine Infrastructure Task Force to help the people of Ukraine strengthen their infrastructure now and support its reconstruction and resilience after the war ends,” added Buttigieg. “This Task Force is another example of the United States’ enduring commitment to Ukraine and its future peace and prosperity.”
The U.S.-Ukraine Infrastructure Task Force will collaborate with the public, governmental departments and agencies, and private stakeholders to develop a plan for the design and reconstruction of infrastructure for Ukraine in the present and for the future. The statement hinges on the importance of “planning, governance, transparency.” The joint statement also emphasized the importance of considering both the short-term and long-term infrastructure needs of the country, including how to maintain it for continued use.
“Both sides intend to identify and reinforce best practices to create a positive business climate with an emphasis on enhanced good governance, transparency, and countering corruption,” the document stated.
The task force will also place focus on climate resiliency and sustainability. As a signatory of the Paris Agreement, Ukraine has committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and becoming net-zero. Strategies for doing, however, have been curtailed and disrupted as a result of the ongoing conflict. The assembled task force will come up with plans that “mitigate adverse impacts on the environment.”
A working-level meeting among the involved entities in the coming months will detail and draft concrete plans for rebuilding and will determine the involvement of other stakeholders.