In Ukraine, the process of digitalisation continues, even under cruise missile attack

Ukraine has vowed to make Russia pay for the economic damage caused by its invasion, with the total cost to the economy currently estimated at 564.9 billion US dollars. The government has also announced new support for internally displaced people, powered by its groundbreaking Diia public service app.

Yulia Sviridenko, one of Ukraine’s deputy prime ministers, has estimated the total cost of damage of the Russian invasion now stands at 564.9 billion US dollars.

Furthermore, Sviridenko, who also serves as Ukraine’s economy and trade minister, has said that Kyiv will seek reparations from Moscow. “Despite all the obstacles, the aggressor will pay,” she wrote on Facebook on March 29, adding, “this will be done through court decisions and by transferring frozen Russian assets to the Ukrainian state. Evil will definitely be punished and Russia will feel the severity of its criminal actions in Ukraine.”

According to Sviridenko, the damage to Ukraine’s state infrastructure now totals 119 billion US dollars. This includes more than 8,000 kilometres of destroyed and damaged roads, dozens of railway stations, and airports.

The impact of the invasion on Ukraine’s GDP is set to reach an additional 112 billion US dollars in 2022, while civilian losses (homes, private vehicles) tops 90.5 billion US dollars. Business losses are currently estimated at 80 billion US dollars, with Sviridenko claiming that 54 billion US dollars in direct investment will also be lost because of the invasion. Ukraine’s state budget meanwhile is set for losses of 48 billion US dollars.

“And the numbers change every day,” Sviridenko continued. “Unfortunately, they are increasing.”

At the weekend, Ukraine’s government announced a raft of financial assistance packages to help people who have been forced to leave their homes because of the Russian invasion.

Adults will receive monthly payments of 2,000 hryvnia (around 61.50 euros), with children receiving 3,000 hryvnia. In addition, firms will be eligible for support of 6,500 hryvnia per month for each displaced person they employ, part of a plan to encourage economic activity in areas not affected by fighting.

“The programme of assistance to enterprises that provide Ukrainians with jobs is a continuation of state support that will stimulate business activity,” said Sviridenko on March 27.

Powered by Diia

The assistance will be available through the Ukrainian government’s much-lauded Diia (which in Ukrainian means “action”) platform, a smartphone app launched in 2020 which acts as a one-stop shop for public services and a wallet for digital versions of official documents: digital passports and driving licences stored in the app have the same legal status as their paper originals.

According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation, Diia was already being used by more than 13 million people (around a third of the population) by the end of 2021.

“Diia has always been an app providing convenient opportunities for Ukrainians on a daily basis,” Konstantin Vasyuk, executive director of the IT Association of Ukraine tells Emerging Europe.

Importantly in the context of the Russian invasion and the large numbers of internally displaced people, Ukrainians can also use the app to change their registered address. A simplified war-time digital ID has also been created, available to all Diia users and recognised by local law enforcement. Ukraine has also secured agreements with neighbouring countries to accept the digital ID in lieu of paper documents – invaluable for refugees who might have been unable to gather paper documents during hurried evacuations.

‘The process of digitalisation continues’

“Since February 24, we have reconfigured processes and focused on the public services that all Ukrainians need now, both military and civilians,” Ukrainian Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov tells Emerging Europe.

“Our Diia app in wartime is not just e-documents and identification of citizens at checkpoints. Now it is also the opportunity to donate the army; report on the movement of the enemy’s military troops and hardware; 24/7 access to TV and radio. It is also the possibility of imagining yourself as a Bayraktar operator. Our plans already include services that will help to rebuild our state; I would even say – plans to build something completely new and modern. And Diia will help.”

“The process of digitalisation continues, even under cruise missile attacks and full-scale war with Russia,” adds Fedorov.

Support for Ukrainians displaced within the country is becoming increasingly crucial. While much of the world’s attention has been focused on those Ukrainians fleeing the fighting to neighbouring countries – more than 3.9 million people have left Ukraine in the past month, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – more still have been internally displaced.

A study published last week by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimated that almost 6.48 million people are displaced in Ukraine as a direct result of the war.

Photo: Ukrainian Ministry of Digital Transformation.

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