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Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov promises post-war rebuild

Ukraine’s top oligarch Saturday swore to help rebuild his shattered country — just five months after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused him of funding a pro-Russian coup.

“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.

Akhmetov’s two Mariupol-based steel plants, the backbone of his $3.9 billion fortune, have been incapacitated during Russia’s continued bombardment of the strategic Ukraine port city.

“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.

Rinat Akhmetov pledged to help rebuild Ukraine after the war.
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Rinat Akhmetov
Rinat Akhmetov’s steel factories were based in the besieged city of Mariupol.
AP

“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.

Rinat Akhmetov
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky accused Rinat Akhmetov of plotting a coup against him in November.
AFP via Getty Images
Mariupol
Rinat Akhmetov called what Russia did to Mariupol a “global tragedy.”
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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.”

Mariupol theater
Rinat Akhmetov said that Ukraine would require its own Marshall plan.
AP

“We believe in the victory of Ukraine and … will never operate under Russian occupation,” the company said.

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