Making borscht, as the war rages on

No, unfortunately this story is not about cooking a delicious and hearty Ukrainian borscht, one could enjoy in the middle of a cold winter.

This story is about making a different kind of borscht, the one which will help Ukraine rebuild itself after the war. It is a story of how a small, international, highly-experienced, non-government Agency is developing a mosaic of state-of-the-art investment projects in Ukraine. Projects, which will help the country become a blossoming European democracy. And each of these projects is like its own borscht being skillfully and lovingly prepared in the middle of an ongoing war by a dedicated group of professional chefs (read project development professionals).

Making a proper Ukrainian borscht is simple, but certainly not easy. The process takes skill, love and most importantly proper ingredients. The cooking process cannot begin until all the ingredients are obtained, examined and prepared. Same with complex international projects. All project ingredients must come together before the financing and implementation (aka cooking) processes begin.

The Rebuilding Ukraine Agency has been on the cutting edge of project development in Ukraine since its founding in March of 2022. As a rapid deployment member-owned organization, the Agency has dedicated itself to the development of projects and services, which are critical to Ukraine’s survival and reconstruction. Some of the key sectors, where the Agency’s members have been making an impact are infrastructure construction (including demining and unexploded ordnance utilization), construction materials, energy, and rehab wellness. Thus, skilled project sponsors, professional service providers, investors, financiers, attorneys, insurance providers are fundamental basic ingredients for the proverbial project borscht. The Agency has built out an amazing team consisting of large international construction, engineering, energy, architecture firms, as well as small, specialized companies and professionals in every area expertise needed for successful project development and implementation. Key ingredients sourced. Check.

Next set of ingredients needed are the local partners. These include federal, state and local governments, local banks and private businesses. Their roles range from developing conducive investment support legislation, providing needed infrastructure and local expertise, supplying equity co-financing and bankable balance sheets, providing market access and personnel. These ingredients are very hard to come by, especially during the war and thus not all projects the Agency is working on have them. Partial check.

Along the way, the project chefs must battle corrupt rodents, ingredient spoilage, malaise and incompetence. All ingredients must conform to certain international compliance standards and be transparent. Thus a whole Grey2White® compliance and due diligence program has been developed to make sure the ingredients going into the projects are perfect and the cooking process is properly managed. The program is headed by a former US Federal Prosecutor and SEC Branch Chief. Check

Once all project ingredients are assembled, the cooking process begins. Depending on the project, the process varies. However the common elements are development of legal contracts, development of feasibility studies, market studies, preparation of applications for financing, due diligence, lender consents, infrastructure services, equipment procurement, construction, environmental compliance etc. etc. The cooking process can take months and sometimes years. Thus, although the Agency chefs do not know when the war will end, and have to manage each project in a way which would keep the wartime risks to the minimum, they fully understand that in order for Ukraine to fully benefit from their project borscht cooking process, the final product must be ready in time for when the reconstruction and rebirthing efforts will begin. That is the ultimate combination of art and skills, which only can come from decades of experience of working in Ukraine and in multiple post-conflict markets, as well as from love, commitment and dedication to Ukrainian prosperity and independence. Some projects the agency has been working on have began the cooking process and some are still waiting for the ingredients. Partial check.

On February 15th and 16th at the Rebuild Ukraine event in Warsaw, select Agency members ECC Corporation, MI Gruppa, Depsol Technologies, Berehove Rehabilitation and Wellness, along with the BAV Corp, Broad Street Capital Group, CC-Solutions, Global Insurance Services, Prostir, Rebuilding Ukraine Association (501c3 non-profit) will present their project development skills, project ingredients and those projects, which are in the cooking stage. Several memorandums and project mandates are expected to be signed and announced at the event. The Agency’s management and Directors are expected to speak at the forum’s events and will describe in detail the Agency’s capabilities and project development process, along with the necessary ingredients needed for successful completion.

Although I sometimes wish that my posts would be more focused on lighter subjects such as photography, food and travel, I know deep in my heart that the successful development and implementation of properly prepared and “cooked” international projects would be the best borscht Ukrainian people can enjoy, as the country rebuilds itself once this horrible war ends.

Rebuilding Ukraine – seven months of swimming upstream

It has been eight long and painful months watching Ukraine and its brave people fight and suffer during the brutal war brought on by its neighboring “broZer”. During seven of those months, Rebuilding Ukraine Agency had its own complex journey riddled with victories, potholes and disappointments.

Formed a month after the war, our member-owned international rapid deployment Agency has one clear mission – help Ukraine rebuild by bringing together likeminded US, UK, European and Ukrainian companies, along with international capital and risk management solutions.

The Agency is organized along several key industry segments – construction/real estate, energy, agriculture, and healthcare. Approximately fifty members strong today, the Agency’s members represent a broad array of companies. From single-person professional practices, to very large architectural, engineering, agricultural and energy firms. As the world’s governments and major financial institutions have been working with Ukraine to develop recovery and rebuilding mechanisms, the Agency quietly took a lead in creating a “closed cycle approach” of developing, financing and insuring projects using its broad toolbox of financing and insurance mechanisms, coupled with building of multidisciplinary teams capable to address the project needs at each stage. Current projects in the Agency pipeline range from development and financing of the state-of-the-art insulation production facility, development of a precast concrete production facility, development of a wellness/rehabilitation center and housing subdivision, to co-financing of a nuclear reactor and of alternative energy powered powerplant facilities.

Despite of the uneven support from the various government agencies and from the international financial institutions on both sides of the pond, the Agency’s Board and staff have persevered and have been moving forward with the laser focus. Rebuilding Ukraine is a rapid deployment agency and that ability to quickly decide, mobilize and act has thus far served as an unbeatable advantage. The Agency entered into several key alliance with established organizations, both in Ukraine and in the US, and through regular roundtables and social media channels has been in the forefront of curating the “Rebuilding Ukraine” topic to a broad audience in several countries. The Agency’s invitation-only Telegram Channel 1 has been critically acclaimed and has become the go to place on the subject.

However, Rebuilding Ukraine journey has not been without its challenges. At the time the Agency was formed, the pro-Ukrainian sentiment was very high worldwide, the war was in the headlines and the world’s outpouring of humanitarian and emotional support has been tremendous. A number of members who joined the Agency at that time have joined guided largely by emotion and having no clear understanding of how they may benefit Ukraine’s rebuilding. When it became apparent that the war will not end quickly and the Agency’s strategy would need to be revised for the long-term, the Agency experienced an attrition of about ten percent of its members.

Another significant obstacle has been investor/donor fatigue, which has developed across the entire “Ukraine” space and the Agency’s capital raising efforts have been impacted by this. As the economic situation in Ukraine deteriorated and bombings escalated, it has become increasingly difficult to develop bankable projects and to even keep up certain meeting schedules due to electricity blackouts, facilities of Agency’s clients being attacked and forced air raid evacuations.

Since the entire Agency staff, Board members and supporting professionals have been volunteering their time, sometimes their “day jobs” took priority and certain Agency initiatives did not unfold as quickly as desired.

When, in March, the Rebuild Ukraine Agency started delivering the message of Private Sector being the key driver in the Rebuilding of Ukraine process, the media and various forum spaces were dominated by theorists and pundits who would put out opinions on how to Rebuild Ukraine without any practical basis. As the time passed, multiple relevant parties understood the importance of the Rebuilding Ukraine with the private sector and started to piggyback on the Agency’s message. I guess imitation is the sincerest from of flattery.

Based on the analysis of the problems, obstacles and successes, the Agency’s Board and Officers have working on putting together a strategic plan, which would allow the Agency to maintain its leading position in the Rebuilding Ukraine space, expand its financing toolbox with equity and possibly NFT offerings, transition its key staff away from the volunteering role, develop cost-effective due diligence and compliance procedures and grow its membership roster to 100 members in 2023.

The Agency is planning a major in-person event in the middle of February in Poland to participate in the Rebuild Ukraine conference and exhibit being organized to accelerate the rebuilding process and we expect 2023 to be the year this horrific war finally ends and the recovery and rebuilding of Ukraine will start in earnest with the Rebuilding Ukraine Agency leading the way for its members.

Rebuilding Ukraine Agency is 120 today

120 days that is. And yet, with the horrific war raging in Ukraine for the past five months, these 120 days seem like eternity. The Agency’s journey, thus far, has been an exhausting marathon filled with ups, downs and periods of frustration. Although, all our activities pale in comparison with the heroic efforts of the Ukrainian armed forces, civil defense and tireless volunteers, who provided incalculable help in delivering humanitarian aid and clean up of destroyed cities, we know that our work is important and is vital to the development of Ukraine’s economic future.

Just 90 days after its formation, the Agency announced its first economic development project – creation of a $25mil. production and distribution facility in the center of Ukraine to produce badly needed construction insulation materials. The project’s principal is a US-based company. Think about the courage required to make such an investment decision into a country embroiled in the brutal war. The agency’s role has been to assist with the project’s development on the ground and to arrange financing and insurance coverage for the facility. Not an easy task, but one for which the Agency has been specifically developed. We are a private, member-owned and rapid reaction organization with significant multi-disciplinary capabilities.

The investors into the insulation project are by no means a unique case. Other Agency members are hard at work developing projects ranging from pre-cast concrete, plate glass and ceramic block production facilities, medical rehabilitation centers, gas and agricultural infrastructure for transportation and storage, and expansion of healthcare facilities for cancer and neo-natal patients.

I am often being asked if the the Agency’s representatives will be attending various rebuilding Ukraine related forums, which have been springing up across several countries. My answer thus far has always been “NO”. While some of these forums are important and highlight policy discussions, international cooperation programs and legal scholars’ theories on subjects of whether it will be possible to use frozen Russian assets towards the cost of reparations, the Agency is laser-focused on its core mission of developing and fulfilling specific projects in key areas of Ukraine’s economy.

In the the movie “Schindler’s List”, the main hero was not able to save all the Jews from the horrors of holocaust, but he was able to make a huge difference by saving over a thousand souls, who in turn gave birth to a new generation. Thus far, the Agency’s approach has been similar. We monitor the policies and trends for rebuilding set by the Ukrainian government, follow various aid announcements etc. and keep our members informed on the developments. Yet, we are primarily concentrating on developing and executing as many specific impactful projects as possible, all while realizing that the Agency will not be able to solve all the problems caused by the war, but every project we successfully realize will make a difference.

I would like to congratulate all the Agency’s Members, Officers and Directors with this small, but important milestone in the life of the Rebuilding Ukraine Agency and I want to thank all the folks in Ukraine, US, Canada, UK and EU countries, who have supported our organization and have helped it move forward. Ukraine will overcome and we will be there to help it rebuild!

Investing in Ukraine’s energy-efficient construction

(June 24, 2022, Washington, DC, Kyiv).  The Rebuilding Ukraine Agency, with support of the National Investment Council of Ukraine, the Confederation of Builders of Ukraine and the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, proudly announces that the Agency has been engaged to spearhead construction development, arrangement of financing and political risk insurance for a state-of-the-art building insulation manufacturing and distribution facility, to be inaugurated in Ukraine in the next several months. 

The proposed $25 million facility is being developed by the Depsol Technologies Group of companies– an experienced, US-based supplier of chemical raw materials to the construction industry in Ukraine and the Baltic countries. The planned facility will be located in the Central Economic District of Ukraine in close proximity to the markets most affected by the wartime destruction. The new plant will produce highly energy efficient and fire-resistant polyurethane insulation material ranging from flexible insulation to rigid structural panels, which will be used for construction and insulation of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. 

Given the substantial destruction of Ukraine’s existing insulation capacity and anticipated needs during the upcoming rebuilding phase, the planned initial production and distribution capacity of the Depsol facility will be 3 million sq.m. of insulation per year. The Depsol facility will have its own solar energy generation plant and will be built to the most rigorous international energy efficiency standards. Over 500 jobs will be created during construction and operation of the plant and of the adjoining distribution center.

The financing for the project is expected to be a combination of equity and European-export-credit-agency-(ECA)-backed loans. Political risk insurance is expected from the US-based government agencies.

About:

Depsol Technologies LLC. is a chemical company focused on distribution of construction insulation materials and production inputs, as well as plastics in and oil and gas chemicals in Ukraine and the Baltic countries.

Depsol’s senior management team has more than 20 years of experience in distribution and trading of plastics and industrial chemicals throughout FSU countries. Prior to establishing Depsol Technologies, Drs. Alfred and Irene Roth founded Dipol Chemical, a major distributor for Dow, Nova, DuPont, Solvay, Clariant in the region, which in 2008 has been successfully sold to the worldwide chemical distributor Brenntag.

Rebuilding Ukraine Agency (www.rebuildingUA.com) – Rebuilding Ukraine Inc. is the US-based member-owned international rapid deployment agency, that was founded in March 2022 with the sole purpose of helping Ukraine rebuild after the Russian war.

The agency represents the US, UK, EU, Canadian and Ukrainian professionals, financing institutions and manufacturers under a unified umbrella, in order to deliver maximum impact for the rebuilding effort of Ukraine. The agency’s team of professionals has decades of experience working in Ukraine and an impressive list of successfully completed projects in Ukraine and around the world.

National Investment Council – Office of the National Investment Council is an advisory body to the President of Ukraine.  It addresses Ukraine’s needs in support for the design and implementation of policy reforms and institutional capacity building, as well as investments. The National Investment Council of Ukraine was established by the Decree of the President of Ukraine N365/2016 and comprises the highest-ranking state officials. Chairman of the National Investment Council is President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Secretary of the National Investment Council is Halyna Yanchenko

Members of the National Investment Council are leading international companies that have already invested in Ukraine or are planning to invest, as well as international financial organizations.

Confederation of Builders of Ukraine – formed 11 years ago, the Confederation of Builders of Ukraine is the largest specialized association, which unites more than 700 participants in the country’s markets for real estate, construction and construction material supply.

US Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) – The U.S.-Ukraine Business Council was established in October 1995 to advance U.S. companies’ trade and investment interests in Ukraine’s significant emerging market, advocate for measures to improve conditions for bilateral trade and investment, and generally promote strong, friendly bilateral ties. 

For more information contact Tamara Zykova at management@rebuildingUA.com

My 60 Days of Rebuilding Ukraine

This weekend marks 60 days since the Rebuilding Ukraine Agency was founded in order to help Ukraine rebuild from the destruction caused by the Russian aggression. 60 days in the context of what it will take to rebuild the country post-war is a negligible number, and yet the last 60 days were among the most vivid, rewarding and event-filled in my 35-year international business journey. 60 days out of 35 years.

Thus far, it has been almost 90 days that Ukraine has been fighting a brutal, unprovoked war with its Russian neighbor. The war, which caused unimaginable destruction of property and economy, forced millions to leave their homes, cost thousands of lives and hampered hundreds of new births. The war, which caused the entire civilized world to rally around Ukraine and its people, in order to offer unprecedented help and support.

Amidst this global seismic shift, a small group of folks in the US, Canada, Ukraine, UK and EU, have decided that given their extensive international and professional experience, they wanted to help and rebuild Ukraine. Although they did not know when the war would end, what would be the final geographical boundaries, or national security arrangements, these folks were and remain convinced that Ukraine would win and remain independent. They also knew, that regardless of the massive expected reparations, government assistance, loans from international financial institutions and equity investment, Ukraine could use a team of international experts in the fields such as engineering, urban design, agricultural infrastructure, energy, water, healthcare, financing, insurance, legal, compliance and telecom.

They also knew that given the strain on the Ukrainian Government, regional and municipal authorities, as well as on the private business, which was caused by the war, it was necessary to simplify delivery of the rebuilding services and solutions to be offered. They also knew that no matter how much money would be allocated for rebuilding, Ukraine could always use more funding to rebuild and facilitate economic growth. Finally, they knew, that in the world of international bureaucracy, they would need to be nimble and have the capability to react rapidly, make decisions quickly and have a large toolbox of solutions unsurpassed by anyone else. Every one of these folks simply said “I am in, what can I do to help Ukraine rebuild?”

Thus was born the Rebuilding Ukraine Agency – the first international, member-owned, rapid deployment Agency, focused solely on helping Ukraine rebuild after the war. Initially, twenty four professionals and representatives of several companies became members. In the next 60 days, the Agency grew to over 50 members and its growth continues. What follows below, is my personal account of this short, but very event filled journey.

As one of the co-founders of the Agency I have been privileged to quarterback the first 60 days. The emotional highs and lows have been tremendous. Initially, it was difficult to reconcile the fact that with the war raging and missiles flying, people in Ukraine’s liberated cities started rebuilding efforts. The Agency arranged meetings with the Mayors of the war-ravaged towns of Bucha, Borodyanka, Melitopol and holding back tears, its members listened, as the Mayors recounted destruction and atrocities in their cities. The Agency’s Ukrainian-based members visited Irpin and saw first hand the destruction and the scope of the massive rebuilding efforts needed to restore the housing and infrastructure.

I watched, as Agency members from different countries, most of whom who did not know each other previously, started to function as a cohesive team. I watched, as our efforts at the Agency received support and offers of help from the folks at the US Government financial institutions, Ukraine’s investment agencies, and large engineering, agricultural and capital markets firms. I was there filled with joy, when a group of US investors expressed their firm commitment to invest in Ukraine and build a plant to produce badly needed construction materials. I was there, when the Agency forged alliances with the Ukrainian Builders’ Confederation. I participated in very open and candid discussions with a Senior Ukrainian Rada member, the UA Ambassador to the US, US Commercial Service officers, business executives and NGOs and was glad to see that their views on rebuilding the country after the war were mostly aligned. I was amazed to see the level of acceptance and support received through social media platforms. A times, I have been overwhelmed by all the activity required when setting up such an Agency. I am grateful to my team, our members, our attorneys and financial professionals for their support and for their continuing efforts to set this Agency up.

Having US Government maintain availability of Political Risk Insurance and project development grants during the war time, gave me optimism and allowed us to start putting together a pipeline projects, which will need to be financed, as soon as the hot phase of the war ends.

And then there was Nezhin. Although the Agency is not a non-profit, the story of the war-damaged birthing hospital in the city of Chernihiv and of totally underequipped neonatal facility in the city of Nezhin charged with handling overflow of the premie births and births requiring surgeries, moved my colleagues and me deeply. The members of the Agency’s healthcare committee sprang up into action and earlier this week a fundraiser was held, which would enable the Agency to buy, ship and fully oversee the delivery of the badly needed equipment to help rebuild the birthing unit at the Nezhin’s town hospital. More is needed and we will be looking for additional humanitarian funding for this and similar projects.

As all these efforts and meetings were taking place, there were always painful reminders of war. Having air raid sirens go off multiple times during my zoom calls with Kyiv, always caused my heart to race. A three month old baby killed by a missile strike in Odesa, along with his mom and grandma, a shopping center in that city struck by a missile, hundreds of yards from our client’s new construction site, fuel shortages, occupation of Chernobyl and the centralized spent fuel storage facility our team helped finance temporarily falling into the enemy hands…. Our team also came across the dark side and saw that elements of corruption, infighting and malaise were unfortunately are still present in Ukraine war, or no war.

Probably, the most difficult, was the realization that the war is likely to last much longer than I originally thought, thus delaying serious rebuilding efforts and subjecting Ukraine to a much greater human toll, as well as property and economic destruction. Another difficult realization was the understanding that the Agency will not be able to help everyone who will need help. Emotionally this is very difficult to reconcile, amidst the rebuilding needs, which will need to be addressed.

Some years ago, I wrote a book in which I recounted interesting stories and adventures along what was then 25 year international journey. The last 60 days have made every one of those stories pale in comparison and I may one day document the Agency’s and mine journey on what I know will be a constructive and and meaningful effort to help Ukraine rebuild. Slava Ukraini!

Alexander Gordin

This Mothers’ Day My Thoughts are in Nezhin

Until a few days ago, I’ve only heard of Nezhin in a few casual conversations I have had with my colleagues. But that was in another life, before the horrific war unleashed on Ukraine by its “brotherly” neighbors.

Then, last week, this small town suddenly became the key focal point for me and my colleagues at the Rebuilding Ukraine Agency. One of the Agency’s Ukrainian members brought to our attention a situation, which demanded immediate attention. Nezhin’s small-town 30-bed hospital has become the closest destination for the neonatal ICU and complex birthing cases, as the regional hospital in the city of Chernihiv has been destroyed by the bombings. Although Nezhin’s birthing unit was poorly equipped to handle neo natal cases, nothing else was available in the area to replace Chernihiv’s neonatal birthing facilities. The Agency’s team had a Zoom call with the head Ob-Gyn at the site and the horror stories we heard brought tears to everyone who participated on the call.

The Agency’s Healthcare Committee moved into action and within 6 hours set up a team, which would be responsible to fund, acquire and shepherd needed equipment and supplies all the way to the Town of Nezhin and would work with the local doctors and hospital administration to expand the neo-natal and complex birthing unit until the Chernihiv hospital will be rebuilt. Because of the way the Agency is set up, such quick reaction and deployment makes it unique, and allows it to address certain key rebuilding issues ahead of the much needed and much more extensive government, foreign donor and NGO efforts.

Why am I writing this today? Motherhood, on any given day is a special and noble calling, which deseves utmost respect. Motherhood, during the times of war is that much more complex. Giving birth to a new life during war is extremely complex, and stressful. However, giving birth to a premie during war times and not having proper conditions to care for the newborn is unimaginable, unfair and heartbreaking. It is up to all of us not only help Rebuild Ukraine, but also make sure that every newborn in Ukraine has a chance to survive and grow up in a peaceful country, where they can carry on a legacy and culture of its people. Happy Mothers’ Day to all the Moms and a special and heartfelt Happy Mothers Day to all the Mothers of Ukraine!

Rebuilding Ukraine Agency tackles its first project in the town of Nezhin

(May 4, 2022, New York City) Rebuilding Ukraine has announced today that its Healthcare Committee, led by Drs. Daniel Fass and Arthur Zgurov, has agreed to assist a team of prominent Ukrainian pediatricians and neonatologists in helping to expand and equip a neonatal birthing unit and an obstetrics and gynecology department in the town of Nezhin.

As the result of the war taking place in Ukraine, the City of Chernihiv has suffered tremendous destruction from the bombing and rocket fire. Among the casualties, a central hospital, which was the primary birthing and neonatal facility in that city. After the Chernihiv hospital was destroyed, Nezhin, with its small local facility, has become the primary destination to admit and care for the neonatal and c-section birthing cases. Nezhin’s facility was ill-equipped to handle the patient influx and the Ukrainian team put out a call to the Rebuilding Ukraine team to help with the expansion and equipping of the Nezhin’s neonatal department.

The Rebuilding Ukraine’s medical team answered the call and has already started working on identifying and prioritizing the list of neonatal and surgical equipment needed. Sourcing of the needed items will take place in the US and Europe and deliveries will be made directly to Nezhin and will be assisted by the Agency’s Ukraine-based team.

About Rebuilding Ukraine Agency. Formed in March of 2022, Rebuilding Ukraine is the first non-government, international, multidisciplinary, rapid deployment Agency to assist the country of Ukraine, as it rebuilds itself after the war. The Agency is member-owned and is comprised of over fifty respected international and Ukrainian companies and professionals with deep experience in developing, financing, insuring and supplying projects in Ukraine and other developing markets where post-war recovery took place. The Agency’s professionals have expertise tackling complex projects in the sectors ranging from healthcare, agriculture, engineering (power, nuclear, renewable, water, wastewater), urban design, construction materials, equipment supply and construction management, real estate and hospitality, gas exctraction, supply and service, sanitation. Of note, is the Agency’s finance, insurance and legal team, which has a broad tool box of various international financing options, as well as deep expertise in risk management and access to a broad legal panel of several prominent US and Ukrainian law firms.

for additional inquiries contact Tamara Zykova at management@rebuildingUA.com

Rebuilding Ukraine starts NOW!

It is very difficult to write about efforts to rebuild Ukraine, while the active war is going on there. As these words are being written, innocent men, women and children are dying and property is being destroyed by a vicious dictator and hiZ troops. Triage is what is most urgently needed right now – weapons, medicine, supplies, help for the 3+million refugees. Those are absolutely essential and many countries of the World have come together to provide such help. May be not everything that Ukraine needs and is calling for, but real help nevertheless.

IF, like me, all those who think that Ukraine will emerge victorious, badly scarred, but victorious and independent, then the most important help we can provide to Ukraine immediately after the war is economic. Rebuilt, stronger and striving Ukraine will be a better and more beautiful country and will be the best vindication to the aggressor. Economically healthy Ukraine will be the best assurance of its prosperous, safe and independent future.

Granted, real rebuilding cannot begin until lasting peace and stability in the country are achieved and any rebuilding plans made now will definitely need to be rethought and adjusted multiple times prior to commencement. There are, however a number of fundamental things, which can be done starting today and which will absolutely be applicable to to any rebuilding process and which will save significant time and resources, once the actual rebuilding commences

I am not talking about charity and aid – that’s the proverbial fish for a day, I am talking about a superb fishing rod factory, which would allow Ukraine to fish and bootstrap itself out of this hell and into prosperity.

No matter what the final territorial footprint looks like after the war ends, Ukraine will urgently need to restore its airports, ports, bridges, communications towers, improve nuclear powerplant security, revisit energy fuel supply and generation capacity, rebuild residential and commercial buildings, schools, kinder gardens, theaters, monuments. Of course, its unique agricultural infrastructure will need to be assured of ample supplies of fertilizer, farming equipment, storage capacity and access to both internal and external markets. Ukraine will need to restore its exports, rebuild its tourism and reignite foreign direct investment. Ukraine will need to modernize its healthcare and return to their homes both internally displaced persons and those who left abroad. As its is being rebuilt, Ukraine will need to position itself for the next 100 years and develop its vast reserves of rare earth metals for electric vehicle and computer component industries. Ukraine’s IT industry has an opportunity to become a global powerhouse. The country will also need to become energy independent and work to develop it vast oil/gas reserves. All these activities will need to take place, while de-mining, and clearing vast quantities of rubble and abandoned military equipment are ongoing.

One bitter lesson Ukrainian people learned during this war was that despite all the help, they are on their own when it comes to actually fighting for their own country’s survival. The same logic shall apply to maintaining the economic activity during the war and reinvigorating it forward, once the war ends. Ukraine should use Western technical assistance, supply of goods and services and funding to jumpstart its economy starting now and going forward. Yet, it should rely on its considerable internal resources to lead the economic recovery and not become beholden to anyone.

Despite seismic events of the last 30 days, Ukrainian authorities have thus far done a remarkable job keeping the country functioning on many fronts – banks are still open, people still go to work in regions where there is no fighting, comms and social networks are up, supply lines and logistics are in fair shape and farmers are planting the next harvest. Arms, medical supplies and humanitarian aid have been flowing and the Ukrainian fighters have done a remarkable job upsetting Putin’s plans.

Even with the most optimistic projections the Rebuilding Phase will take at least a decade. Thus the quicker the country begins the preparation, the quicker it will be able to get back on its feet. What can be done now?

Find out at a special Zoom Information session, which will be held Friday, April 8th at 10am EST. To request an invitation please send a one paragraph email to management@rebuildingUA.com introducing yourself, your company and skills/products/services you think may be useful to the efforts of Rebuilding Ukraine.

Bomb shelter to protect from Americans!

Oh, what cruel ironies life can serve. I woke up this morning to learn that the Russian aggressors have started bombing additional Ukrainian cities, including Dnipro (or Dnirpropetrovsk, as it was formerly known).

I shuddered and could not shake a thought of how despite malicious propaganda and bias informational barrage, life sometimes serves up cruel ironies and unequivocal empirical truths, which define the real state of affairs.

About 15 years ago, my team and I were working in Dnipro as contractors on the US Government’s feasibility study to rehabilitate the aging heat and powerplant located at the famous Yuzhmash facility. During the multiweek stay in Dnipro, we got to tour the once secret plant multiple times and on one particularly memorable visit, our guide explained how the workers’ locker rooms were built to double as bomb shelters against American bombs. The building essentially was constructed on giant springs and able to withstand a nuclear blast.

Well, since the fall of the Soviet Union, Americans have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to help Ukraine convert the Yuzhmash Soviet missile factory to civilian use, prop up Ukraine’s space program and created several international joint ventures, which use Yuzhmash’s rockets to lift international satellites into space. Russia has done largely the opposite.

The bombs and rockets, which the builders of the Yuzhmash facility were afraid of, came not from the US, but as a backstab from Russia. It pains me to think that the bomb shelters built to protect against the nation, which has done nothing but help, will now be used to protect Ukrainian people against a devastating betrayal by the “brotherly people”.

Time to rebuild the Dream!

Rebuilding Ukraine’s National Symbol – An-225 Mriya

On February 24th of this year, during the barbaric attack on Ukraine’s Gostomel airport, Russian invaders unceremoniously destroyed the An-225 Mriya (the Dream). The only such plane in existence, An-225 was the largest freight plane in the world and the symbol of Ukraine. Not only this unique technological marvel was Ukraine’s global calling card, but for decades, this plane has flown countless humanitarian and commercial missions helping many companies and governments worldwide to deliver much needed oversized shipments, which otherwise could not have been moved. By destroying this plane, Russian troops committed an international act of terrorism.

The time has come for the Phoenix to rise from the ashes!

Mriya AN 225

As someone involved in Commercial Diplomacy for over 25 years, some of the weapons and tools with which I am familiar with are international project development and financing, foreign direct investment, export financing, political risk and trade credit insurance. I fully realize that there is an active war going on in Ukraine now and that most of the world is currently focused on extinguishing the genocide and destruction, as well as preventing nuclear conflict.

However, I believe that Ukraine WILL prevail and the moment it does, its economy will need to be rebuilt and rebuilt quickly. Prosperous Ukraine means stronger and more independent Ukraine. Since any serious projects and financings take many months or sometimes years to be developed and implemented, it is imperative to get a head start and begin teeing up significant projects now.

When the original Mriya was built, the Antonov company has partially built a second plane, but that project was abandoned due to lack of funding and the fuselage has been mothballed. I think that rebuilding the second An-225 will be a marquee pivotal project, which will help catapult Ukraine out of the post-war destruction and into greatness. Rather than the Dream, I think we should call the second plane Faith (Bipa in Ukrainian). The Faith will once again become the calling card of the new – progressive, battle hardened and victorious Ukraine.

Developing, financing and building a project like this will require multiple Ukrainian and international stakeholders: engineers, regulators, component suppliers, manufacturers, pilots, financiers, lawyers , shippers, off-takers and many, many others. The project will, at a later point, require significant financing. But all that will come a bit later. The goal today is to take a tiny first step and start identifying those parties who will be interested in getting involved with the Faith project on the ground floor. Anyone interested in getting involved in helping bring the Faith to Ukraine, please contact me directly.

(Source: Wikipedia) The Antonov An-225 Mriya (Ukrainian: Антонов Ан-225 Мрія, lit.”dream’ or ‘inspiration”; NATO reporting nameCossack) was a strategic airlift cargo aircraft that was designed by the Antonov Design Bureau in the Ukrainian SSR within the Soviet Union during the 1980s. Originally, this unique aircraft was developed as an enlargement of the Antonov An-124 to transport Buran-class orbiters. After successfully fulfilling its Soviet military missions, it was mothballed for eight years. It was then refurbished and reintroduced into commercial operation with Antonov Airlines, carrying oversized payloads. While a second airframe with a slightly different configuration was partially built, construction was halted more than once due to a lack of funding and interest. This second aircraft was last brought up to 60–70% completion in 2009.

As an oversized aircraft, the Antonov An-225 Mriya held multiple records which included; heaviest aircraft ever built, and largest wingspan of any aircraft in operational service. Other records held by the An-225 were cargo related in terms of weight and length as the Antonov An-225 had the capability to carry up to 640 tonnes (705 short tons). The An-225 attracted a high degree of public interest, attaining a global following due to its size and its uniqueness. People frequently visited airports to see its scheduled arrivals and departures.

The An-225 was at Hostomel Airport when Russian forces launched an attack on the airport on 24 February 2022, as part of the invasion of Ukraine. The aircraft was destroyed in the attack.

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