“Estonia is among the first countries to start physical rebuilding of Ukraine,” said Arsenii Pushkarenko, member of the Verkhovna Rada and chairman of the Ukrainian-Estonian inter-parliamentary working group, while visiting Estonia this week. By the end of 2022, Estonia plans to build a kindergarten in the Zhytomyr region, in the city of Ovruch. The completion of this project is being managed by the Estonian Centre for International Development (ESTDEV).
In rebuilding Ukraine, Estonia is focusing on the Zhytomyr region. Under the leadership of local governments, a plan for the reconstruction and modernization of the region has been prepared, which includes a list of public buildings in need of urgent support from partner countries to restore and rebuild.
“After ESTDEV’s visit to the region and becoming familiar with these objectives, we proposed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the building of a modern and energy-efficient kindergarten using wooden modules in the city of Ovruch, which is becoming an important border town between Ukraine and Belarus,” explained Kadri Maasik, Executive Director of ESTDEV.
The use of wooden modules allows 95% of the work to be done outside of Ukraine, and their transport and installation can be organised quickly, taking into account the risks associated with the war, and military operations.
“Our goal is to finish the first stage of construction of the kindergarten in December 2022. For this we will involve Estonian private companies, with whom we have already started consultations,” said Kadri Maasik. “The participation of the Estonian private sector in the reconstruction of Ukraine is an important step in continuing economic cooperation between Estonia and Ukraine after the war.”
The further progress of the works depends on next year’s state budget and how much we can attract investments from the private sector and other donors.
“Our goal is to finish the first stage of construction of the kindergarten in December 2022. For this we will involve Estonian private companies, with whom we have already started consultations.”
– Kadri Maasik, Executive Director of ESTDEV
According to Andres Sutt, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, who performs the duties of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the interest of Estonian companies in contributing to the reconstruction of Ukraine is great, and our companies are already negotiating with various parties in Ukraine today.
“Despite the fact that there is active fighting in Eastern Ukraine, the time has come to start rebuilding the other regions. One of the priorities is the accommodation of internal war refugees in other regions of Ukraine, which includes, for example, housing, schools, and kindergartens. This is an opportunity for our companies who have experience in related fields, such as the production of wooden and modular houses,” said Andres Sutt at the meeting with the Ukrainian delegation.
Minister Sutt said at the meeting that the last two weeks have been very meaningful for Ukraine. “While Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine began on our Independence Day, our Victory Day, Ukraine received EU candidate status, and last week, the NATO summit in Madrid gave a clear confirmation that the door is open to Ukraine. Likewise, NATO allies continue with military aid, which shows that the entire democratic world stands by Ukraine,” the minister confirmed.
Estonia supports Ukraine both in imposing harsh sanctions on Russia and also by providing direct political and practical support to Ukraine in the form of military aid, humanitarian aid, and post-war reconstruction. According to Sutt, Estonia has given Ukraine military aid worth 241 million euros since February, which is a third of our defense budget and 0.8% of our GDP. “We will certainly continue to work to our fullest potential. For example, we will support via training in the use of Western weaponry and with various other cooperation projects such as courses, rehabilitation, and others,” Sutt noted.
At the invitation of ESTDEV, a Ukrainian delegation visited Estonia this week, including representatives from Verkhovna Rada (VR) and from the Zhytomyr region. The delegation was led by Oleksandr Merežko, the chairman of the foreign committee of the VR, and was accompanied by the ambassadors of Estonia and Ukraine, Kaimo Kuusk and Mariana Betsa. In addition to Minister Sutt, the Ukrainian delegation also met with Riigikogu Chairman Jüri Ratas, Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Marko Mihkelson, representatives of the Estonian Furniture Manufacturers’ Union, the Union of Apartment Cooperatives, and companies such as Bellus, Kitman Thulema, Nordecon, and Barrus.
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Estonian Centre for International Development is a government foundation that manages and implements Estonia’s participation in international development cooperation and humanitarian aid projects, with the aim of increasing Estonia’s contribution to global security and sustainable development.