“We will rebuild the entire Ukraine,” declared billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, the nation’s richest man.
“We will definitely need an unprecedented international reconstruction program, a Marshall Plan, for Ukraine,” he added, referring to the massive US-led effort to restore Europe in the wake of World War II.
“My ambition is to return to a Ukrainian Mariupol and implement our [production] plans so that Mariupol-produced steel can compete in global markets as before,” Akhmetov said.
“Mariupol is a global tragedy and a global example of heroism,” he said. “I believe that our brave soldiers will defend the city, though I understand how difficult and hard it is for them.”
In November, Zelensky accused Akhmetov of conspiring to overthrow his government in a Russia-backed plot — amid mounting tensions as Vladimir Putin’s forces massed along the Ukrainian border in a pre-invasion military buildup.
Akhmetov, a vocal opponent of Zelensky’s anti-corruption measures targeting the nation’s oligarchs, called the coup allegation “an absolute lie,” Politico reported at the time.
On Saturday, the oligarch praised Zelensky’s “passion and professionalism” in resisting the Russian invasion.
“The war is certainly not the time to be at odds,” Akhmetov said.
Akhmetov’s vow to help his homeland came one day after his steel-making company, Metinvest, said, “Mariupol must remain Ukrainian.”
“We believe in the victory of Ukraine and … will never operate under Russian occupation,” the company said.