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Australian iron ore magnate commits $500 million for Ukrainian reconstruction fund

Kitco News

SYDNEY, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Australian iron ore magnate Andrew Forrest announced on Thursday a $500 million commitment towards the launch of a $25 billion international investment fund designed to help Ukraine rebuild after Russia's invasion.

The Ukraine Green Growth Initiative will focus on building out infrastructure projects in energy and communications, including a green energy grid, according to a press release from Forrest's family office Tattarang.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy was quoted in the press release welcoming the investment and saying it would help Ukraine become the fastest-growing economy in Europe.

"Andrew and I have agreed we will not replace communist era rubbish Russian infrastructure, instead we will leapfrog to the latest technology," said Zelenskyy.

"We will take advantage of the fact that what the Russians have destroyed can readily be replaced with the latest, most modern green and digital infrastructure."

Russia has stepped up its missile assault on Ukraine this week, targeting cities and energy infrastructure in what Kyiv said is the heaviest wave of missile strikes in nearly nine months of war.

Forrest, founder of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd , said consultations for the fund, which will help Ukraine rebuild and "enter a golden era", have been underway since March, and involved conversations with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, U.S. President Joe Biden, former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others.

Fund manager BlackRock Inc helped with due diligence, Forrest said. Blackrock last week signed a memorandum of understanding with Ukraine to help it attract private capital.

"We will build a new future, not simply replace the past. We want Ukrainian people to know that we will be there with you, helping you to deliver strong economic growth in Europe," he said.

(Reporting by Lewis Jackson; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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