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Scholz vows Russia would not win war in Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has vowed that Russia would not win its war in Ukraine as he welcomed President Volodymyr Zelensky at a reconstruction conference in Berlin.

“There will be no military victory and no dictated peace,” Mr Scholz said, calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to “end his brutal campaign and withdraw his troops”.

Mr Scholz rallied private companies to put their money into rebuilding Ukraine, as he launched a conference in Berlin dedicated to mobilising international support for post-war reconstruction.

Citing World Bank estimates that Ukraine could need $500 billion over a decade, Mr Scholz said companies had to be offered a business case for investing and talked up Ukraine’s potential in sectors including renewables, IT and pharmaceuticals.

He also said Germany was sending more air defence systems, missiles and munitions to bolster Kyiv’s defences against a barrage of Russian attacks on cities and critical infrastructure more than two years after Russia launched a full-scale invasion.

“The best kind of reconstruction is the one that doesn’t have to happen at all,” Mr Scholz said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the conference in Berlin

Kyiv hopes the recovery conference will cement its credentials as a future member of the European Union that is worthy of huge injections of reconstruction financing even as Russian forces continue to make slow advances in Ukraine’s east.

It comes days before Switzerland hosts an international conference to find a path to peace in Ukraine but which has been shunned by China and dismissed as a waste of time by Russia, which was not invited to attend.

Kyiv says its energy system particularly is in urgent need of support as a Russian airstrike campaign that began in March has inflicted heavy damage to power generating capacity, causing scheduled blackouts in the capital and across the country.

The Berlin conference was tainted this week by the resignation of a top Ukrainian reconstruction official and prominent former lawmaker who said “systemic obstacles” were making his job untenable.

Additional reporting Reuters

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