European Union reaffirms its commitment to Ukraine's recovery

In his visit to the Kyiv Oblast, the Director of EU’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments witnessed progress with debris removal and demining

October 3, 2023

Peter M. Wagner, Director of the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments of the European Commission, visited the Ivankiv community in Kyiv Oblast on 2 October 2023.

Photo: Ksenia Nevenchenko / UNDP in Ukraine

KYIV, 3 October 2023 – Peter M. Wagner, Director of the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments of the European Commission, visited the Ivankiv community in Kyiv Oblast on 2 October. The region bore the brunt of the initial stages of Russia’s full-scale invasion and suffered nearly constant shelling for weeks afterwards. The 81 localities located close to the Chernobyl exclusion zone, provide a vivid snapshot of Ukraine's broader challenges. 

The EU-UNDP programme of support in Ivankiv embraces a build-back better approach, comprising multiple stages aimed at addressing current challenges and enhancing the capacity and resilience of local and mine action authorities. The ongoing recovery initiatives in the community mark the initial phase of a comprehensive rehabilitation plan, geared towards mitigating critical hazards before reconstruction can begin.

Wagner said the European Union (EU) focuses on multiple recovery fields in Ukraine, with an emphasis on demining, debris removal, small-scale infrastructure  repairs, and support for immediately war-affected communities. “The situation in Ivankiv clearly indicates why these areas are prioritised,” he said. “By addressing the immediate dangers and supporting the reconstruction of essential facilities and infrastructure, the EU aims to foster a stable environment conducive to long-term growth and prosperity.”

UNDP Resident Representative Jaco Cilliers: “Our primary commitment is to ensure that  neighbourhoods are free of mines and unexploded ordnance,” he said. “This is a lengthy and arduous process, but it’s a responsibility we must shoulder with the utmost care and precision, guaranteeing the safety of every individual who calls this land home.  We are immensely grateful to the European Union as partners in this process.”

Lesia Karnaukh, Deputy Head of Kyiv Oblast Administration, said destruction can happen in the blink of an eye, yet rebuilding can span years. "In mere moments, we have seen the might of destruction – buildings collapsing to dust, lives taken prematurely, dreams shattered,” she said.  “Yet, we cannot afford to let despair cloud our vision. The support provided by the EU and UNDP in enhancing our resilience to the challenges of war. We are grateful for such invaluable assistance.”

Tetiana Svyrydenko, Head of the Ivankiv Settlement Council, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to participate in a joint EU-UNDP project: "This is an invaluable support for our community! We are infinitely grateful to everyone who helps us in fighting the consequences of the aggression of the Russian Federation and occupation."

Background: In August 2022, the European Commission, through its Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), contributed EUR 20 million to UNDP to support debris removal and restoration of critical infrastructure in Ukraine. The funds also are being used to identify, map and neutralize urgent environmental threats and to help repair, restore, and/or procure strategic infrastructure, in particular, to improve water and energy supply in affected areas. 

Media enquiries: Yuliia Samus, Communications Team Leader, UNDP in Ukraine; e-mail:

FPI Director visits Ivankiv, Kyiv Oblast