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Ukraine: Aftermath of missile strike on residential building in Kyiv
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Australian mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has launched a fund to help rebuild Ukraine which is hoped to be worth $25bn (£21bn). Mr Forrest and his wife have already committed $500m to the fund, which according to organisers, could eventually grow to $100billion.
Known as the Ukrainian Green Growth Initiative, it plans to invest in primary infrastructure such as energy and telecoms networks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the news, arguing that the money could be used to replace the energy infrastructure that Russia had destroyed.
He said: “We will take advantage of the fact that what the Russians have destroyed can readily be replaced with the latest, most modern green and digital infrastructure.”
According to the fund, there had been collaboration with Larry Fink the chairman of investment giant BlackRock.
There was also a hope that support could be gained from sovereign wealth funds and other professional investors.
Mr Forrest said he began working on the plan in early March and had discussed it with US President Joe Biden, then Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Forrest said that Mr Zelensky saw it as an opportunity to replace the Soviet era energy infrastructure with new green technology and end Ukraine’s dependence on nuclear energy.
He said: “The president [Zelensky] sees that as an opportunity to completely replace old coal-fired [and] nuclear power stations with brand new green energy.
“That capital would be available the instant that the Russian forces have been removed from the homelands of Ukraine.”
Mr Forrest made his fortune in Australia’s mining boom and is he founder and executive chairman of iron ore giant Fortescue Metals.
However, in recent years he has turned his attention to sustainable technology.
He has developed initiatives to decarbonise his mining operations and become a major producer of green hydrogen.
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Large parts of Ukrainian infrastructure has been destroyed or damaged during the war.
Recent Russian missile attacks have targeted the Ukrainian energy network including electricity generation plants.
Earlier this week the Kremlin rejected international calls for it to pay war reparations to Ukraine for the damage it has caused.
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