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Agency and recovery. Who is to blame for the failure of reconstruction projects

On 10 June, Mustafa Nayyem, head of the State Agency for Infrastructure Recovery and Development, wrote a letter of resignation and noted that he had made this decision on his own, as the agency's work was systematically hindered, its employees' salaries were reduced, and road reconstruction projects were cancelled. He did so amid a scandal over the Prime Minister's decision to cancel his trip to Berlin for an international conference on reconstruction

On 12 June, a meeting was held "in high emotional tones" with the participation of the Prime Minister, Mustafa Nayyem, heads of regional administrations, and the Deputy Director of the BEB. The heads of regional administrations accused the Agency of failing pilot reconstruction projects in five regions. In turn, Mustafa Nayem mentioned underfunding and lack of communication with the government. asked both sides about the essence of the claims. And also why the recovery projects were not implemented and who was to blame. 

Mustafa Nayyem
Photo: facebook/Mustafa Nayyem
Mustafa Nayyem

"Emotions were off the charts"

Back on 25 April 2023, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a resolution on a pilot project to restore settlements affected by Russia's military aggression by 2025.

These were the village of Borodyanka, the village of Moshchun (both in Kyiv Region), the village of Posad-Pokrovske in Chornobayivska community of Kherson Region, the city of Trostyanets (Sumy Region), the village of Tsyrkuny (Kharkiv Region), and the village of Yahidne (Chernihiv Region). 

The resolution stipulated that the project was to be funded by the Recovery Agency in several stages from the fund for the elimination of the consequences of armed aggression.

After Mustafa Nayyem wrote a letter of resignation, the government first demanded a report from the Agency on the results of the restoration and held a meeting.

"The meeting was attended by the prime minister, heads of five state administrations, deputy director of the BES, deputy ministers of finance and energy, head of customs, deputy head of Ukrenergo... The discussion was very emotional. The dissatisfaction of the Prime Minister and the heads of administrations with the Agency's work was off the charts. Because at most facilities, the percentage of restoration work is zero," a government source told

Post-war recovery meeting chaired by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal
Post-war recovery meeting chaired by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal's interlocutors also said that there is already an appeal signed by the Prime Minister to law enforcement agencies to check certain facilities being built by the Recovery Agency. There is also an appeal to the BES, the Accounting Chamber and the SBU to find out how the energy facilities are being restored. 

Tsyrkuny without school and shelter

The head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, Oleh Synyehubov, told that, according to last year's government decree, four facilities in Tsyrkuny were to be restored.

"A school with a single shelter for the entire settlement, a hospital, a village council and a kindergarten, as everything there was destroyed almost to the ground... At the meeting, the Prime Minister asked Mustafa Nayyem about the state of these facilities. And then I spoke, saying that the implementation of this project is at zero," the official said.

Post-war recovery meeting chaired by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal
Post-war recovery meeting chaired by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal

According to him, the RMA provided everything necessary, namely demining the territory.

"Then we wrote letters almost every month, plans for implementing the restoration concept, because we understood that nothing else was happening there. According to the agency, they were designing all this time. But it cannot last for more than a year," complained Oleh Synyehubov.

The administration rebuilt the facilities in the Region on its own through the fund for the elimination of the consequences of armed aggression, the official said. "But this project did not take off at all. However, people there are asking us, because it doesn't matter who the customer is on the ground: Mustafa, Ivanov, or Petrov... And the general picture in other Regions is exactly the same. This pilot project has failed," he stated. 

The deadlines for the protection of energy facilities, for which the same Recovery Agency was responsible, were also constantly postponed.

"First, they set some deadlines, then others. For example: the beginning of the heating season, then 1 December, 31 December... But these facilities were actually completed recently, the first one a few months ago. And last month, the second facility was completed. It is important that the deadlines were set, including by the President, but they were disrupted... And, in my opinion, this is the responsibility and result of the agency's work," said Synyehubov. 

Head of the Kharkiv RMA Oleh Synehubov
Photo: Head of the Kharkiv RMA Oleh Synehubov in a telegram
Head of the Kharkiv RMA Oleh Synehubov

At the same time, Mustafa Nayyem called the meeting "a staged performance to prove the Agency's ineffectiveness".

"The heads of the Civil-Military Administration read their speeches from papers, using the same words, and I am a little ashamed of them. Meanwhile, the head of government knows and has had to admit several times that it was the lack of decisions by the Cabinet of Ministers that halted crucial projects, including the restoration of settlements," he added.

Nayyem stressed that the government set the task in April 2023, and the Agency was allocated funding only in September, when the construction season ended.

"For five months, the government was unable to make the relevant decisions, explaining it with ridiculous comments to the documents, although we were ready to start procurement and work at any time. I am ready to prove it with documents," he assured. 

Nayyem also said that Oleh Synyehubov had repeatedly called him and his colleagues, asking them to exclude Tsyrkuny from the pilot project, "because it is absurd to restore facilities 20 kilometres from the frontline.”

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal during a working trip to the Kharkiv Region inspected the destruction caused by Russian aggression in the village of Tsyrkuny.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal during a working trip to the Kharkiv Region inspected the destruction caused by Russian aggression in the village of Tsyrkuny.

"Here are his words of 9 June 2023: "There is a question of replacing this settlement. This is frank, because there is shelling there almost every week. This does not mean that we are leaving Tsyrkuny aside." 

The shelling of Kharkiv Region has only intensified since then. Nevertheless, we have not abandoned the reconstruction of Tsyrkuny - design work is underway and will be completed on time," Nayyem promised.

He also clarified that "the head of the administration does not even know the plan for the implementation of work at energy facilities and the timing of their completion."

"He can visit our Service in Kharkiv and we will show him. Our shelters have survived, which is why Ukrenergo was able to restore power supply to Kharkiv Region in a short time. Synyehubov found out about this only during the latest shelling. He already knows which substation we are talking about. Moreover, he personally called me and thanked me for my work on the night of the massive shelling. It is a shame that he has now forgotten about it," Mustafa Nayyem said.

Mustafa Nayyem
Photo: facebook/Mustafa Nayyem
Mustafa Nayyem

Trostyanets without a railway station

The head of the Sumy Regional State Administration, Volodymyr Artyukh, confirmed to that at the meeting, not only the prime minister but also colleagues from the Regions were dissatisfied with the agency's work.

"Because the restoration projects have not been completed. In some places, they have not been completed at all. In the Sumy Region, the percentage is very small - only 7.2% of implementation," said Artyukh.

According to him, in the city of Trostyanets, which suffered enormous destruction from Russian forces, the railway station, the square in front of the station, and two sections of roads were to be reconstructed to form a junction. 

"These four objects were included in the government resolution. The money for this was received in September 2023. Prior to that, a roadmap was developed, with approvals from the Sumy Military Administration and the Trostyanets City Council... In the end, only UAH 48.2 million out of UAH 663.3 million was used. 48.2 is 7.2%. And the balance - UAH 615 million - was returned to the state budget," the head stated.

Head of Sumy RMA Volodymyr Artyukh
Head of Sumy RMA Volodymyr Artyukh

In fact, the agency has only partially dismantled the destroyed structures and repaired the roadway, he said. 

"In practice, that road is impassable today because it is unfinished," said Artyukh.

He also added that the agency announced tenders and then cancelled them, even though contractors were ready to work. 

"During the year of his leadership in the administration, Artyukh has never even taken an interest in the work in this village," Mustafa Nayyem said in response, "while in Trostyanets, design work has been completed for all facilities, except for the reconstruction of the square. According to the contract, the road repairs are due to be completed by the end of 2024. Due to lack of funding, the work has been suspended. As for the railway station, repairs have already begun, and we plan to complete them by the end of this year, if we have the funds. But again, it is very telling that the mayor is demanding the repair of the square as soon as possible, while there are still destroyed houses on the same square, where repairs are still underway."

In a conversation with, the mayor of Trostyanets, Yuriy Bova, disagreed with the negative assessments of the Agency's activities.

Mayor of Trostyanets Yuriy Bova
Mayor of Trostyanets Yuriy Bova

"The agency has almost completed a hospital and two houses in the city. As for the railway station with the station square, at the beginning of cooperation with the agency last year, there was no project documentation at all. Therefore, we should not count on a quick implementation process in this area, as design work usually takes from six months to a year... And only last summer we handed over all the necessary documents for the design of these works. Now the project is almost complete, it is at the stage of examination. And I personally have no complaints about the work of Nayyem and the Agency," the mayor said. 

Posad-Pokrovske in Kherson Region: no houses, but a road 

The head of the Kherson regional state administration, Oleksandr Prokudin, also told that "nothing is being done". 

"That's why there are such emotions at every meeting. And the prime minister sees this and can no longer tolerate it," Prokudin said. 

According to him, not a single house has been rebuilt in the village of Posad-Pokrovske of the Chornobayiv territorial community.

De-occupied village of Posad-Pokrovske in Kherson Region, July 2023
De-occupied village of Posad-Pokrovske in Kherson Region, July 2023

"990 houses for 2,240 residents were destroyed. Now a thousand people have returned, and they are living in small houses made of plywood that we have provided. However, people are waiting for normal houses," the official said. 

The reconstruction of 373 private households was transferred to the Agency. The first priority was given to 120 houses, 81 of which were completely rebuilt, while 39 needed major repairs.

"As of now, not a single house has been completed, not a single one. Just not a single one! Only the walls of five houses have been built by volunteers. They started work on 76 houses but stopped immediately. And since the beginning of the year, nothing has been done at all," Prokudin said, adding that the government had allocated UAH 345 million for this project, and it had been used.

"But 274 million of them were spent on the road. We emphasised that there should be houses for people. And they built a road for 274 million. 6 million of them were spent on gas, electricity and water supply: they laid pipes for two roads, dug wells somewhere - and still it all froze, and it's still there," stated the head of the Kherson RMA. 

People in Posad-Pokrovske are outraged, said the head of the RMA: "To be honest, I can't go there anymore. The social tension among the population has increased so much... They all want to take us to task... We prepared everything for the Agency's work: we cleaned the village, removed the garbage on our own, and demined the territory. Then the Agency took everything into its own hands and put out tenders for construction. Some contractors have already done more than they were paid for. They are waiting for the money and do not believe the Agency that they will be paid in full," Prokudin said.

Press conference of the head of the RMA Oleksandr Prokudin, 30 April, 2023
Photo: Oleksandr Prokudin/Telegram
Press conference of the head of the RMA Oleksandr Prokudin, 30 April, 2023

"It is strange that Mr Prokudin does not even remember what he signed. The road was included in the list of projects to be restored by the head himself.

Funding for housing reconstruction began in September 2023. During this time, we had to collect thousands of documents from homeowners to obtain customer rights, but we did not receive any help from the local authorities. At the same time, the road is on the balance sheet of our restoration service, so we managed to restore it faster," Mustafa Nayyem said in response.

According to him, construction work is currently underway in 120 houses in the village.

"However, due to the fact that the government has completely stopped funding these facilities, the work has either slowed down or stopped altogether. The government's resolution, which provides for funding of UAH 2.8 billion for the pilot project, has not been approved by the government itself since the beginning of the year," Nayyem said. 

Chernihiv Region also without houses, but with a road surface

Vyacheslav Chaus, head of the Chernihiv Regional State Administration, told that back in 2022, the village of Yahidne in the Ivanivka territorial community was partially restored at the expense of the state, local budget, and volunteers.

Yahidne village in Chernihiv Region.
Photo: Suspilne Chernihiv
Yahidne village in Chernihiv Region.

"There was a high rate of restoration in 2022 (before the government's 2023 resolution on pilot projects in five Regions). And when the Agency took away the rights of the customer in 2023, the pace of work became very slow. And at the end of April 2024, they stopped altogether," Chaus said.

"There is actually a social explosion of people who experienced the rapid recovery in 2022. Unfortunately, in 2023 and 2024, they also felt what non-recovery is like... There is an experimental project that should be given special attention. But, unfortunately, we have lost time," the official admitted. "At the same time, we need to prioritise housing reconstruction. We already have a road surface, but for some reason we don't have enough money for houses. I emphasised that I was categorically against repairing the road, any section of it, until we complete the repair of housing for our residents who suffered from the enemy... However, we have this result."

Vyacheslav Chaus
Photo: Chernihiv RMA
Vyacheslav Chaus

Nayyem noted that the road in question was included in the list of objects to be restored by Chaus himself.

"As for the houses: the restoration of all residential facilities in the village has begun. It will be completed if the government unblocks the relevant funding. In 2023, we completed three times the amount of work as was envisaged by the funding. This year, the government has not allocated any funds at all," he said.

Moshchun village, 2022
Photo: Ihor Lutsenko
Moshchun village, 2022

Moshchun was not taken up at all, and only minor work was done in Borodyanka 

The first deputy head of the Kyiv Regional State Administration, Mykola Boyko, reminded that, according to the resolution, the agency was supposed to rebuild two settlements: the village of Borodyanka and the village of Moshchun in the Gostomel territorial community.

"The restoration of Moshchun has not been launched at all. We have submitted a list of 108 objects, more than 10 complete packages of documents for Moshchun. However, to be honest, the Agency did not take any of them into consideration. The reasoning was that it was the private sector. And in fact, more than 800 houses were destroyed there. The Agency justified its position by launching eRestoration. And people began to receive construction certificates," Boyko said.

However, this does not solve the problem, he said, as only certificates for the purchase of housing were valid for eRestoration for a year, and the issuance of certificates for major repairs and construction started only in August last year.

According to him, the Agency has not restored a single house under the pilot project. 

First Deputy Head of the Kyiv Regional State Administration Mykola Boyko
Photo: Olha Nosovets
First Deputy Head of the Kyiv Regional State Administration Mykola Boyko

A list of 59 facilities was also submitted for Borodyanka, as well as packages of documents for 37 of them, the official said. 

"And funds in the amount of UAH 1 billion 775 million were allocated for them. That is almost 2 billion for apartment buildings, social and communal facilities. Plus one dormitory and a central road," he said.

Only 20 facilities have been contracted, 17 are at the design stage. At 16 (out of 20) sites, minor work has been carried out, with 5-10% completed. At four, they have not started at all. 

"And we are talking about only 37 pilot project sites. And in Borodyanka, more than 650 facilities have been destroyed or damaged. This includes the private sector, schools, kindergartens, and a hospital... Therefore, attention should be paid to all buildings and comprehensive solutions should be developed... And now preliminary solutions have been developed for only 37 objects, and the rest? How many years will we be rebuilding Borodyanka? If we couldn't rebuild 37 facilities in a year, then we will probably have to restore the remaining 600-plus facilities for 25 years... If we talk about such a result, then most of the responsibility definitely lies with the agency," Boyko is outraged.

Mustafa Nayyem noted that the Prime Minister had said in front of witnesses that there was no point in restoring private houses in Moshchun, so it was necessary to follow the path of eRestoration.

"I personally support this decision of the Prime Minister... As for the number of objects we were instructed to restore, this is also the decision of the administration, not ours. It was the administration that identified 37 sites, and we decided to do the rest on our own.

For all these 37 objects, the administration could neither provide project documentation nor help us obtain the right of the customer, conduct a technical inspection, etc. The administration has not yet agreed on a list of facilities to be restored this year. However, in Borodyanka, the amount of work performed is three times higher than the amount of funding," said Mustafa Nayyem.

Responsibility will not be avoided

Nayyem disagrees with the unsatisfactory assessment of the work: "The Reconstruction Agency has been working effectively and as openly as possible. The head of government knows about all the facilities we built and the conditions under which it happened. We took responsibility when all responsible government agencies retreated and, on behalf of the government, built a water supply system in the Dnipropetrovsk Region (today, residents of Marhanets, Pokrovsk, Nikopol have water); we also did not retreat when we had to build protective structures for 22 Ukrenergo substations, restored more than 300 bridges, provided logistics for military and civilian cargo, and restored housing and social infrastructure. And during all this time, there has not been a single scandal with any tender, project or construction site."

According to him, the restoration of five settlements, according to the pilot project, was funded by only 6%, and 24% of the work was completed. The funding for energy facilities was 24%, and 82% of the work was completed.

Photo: EPA/UPG

"And this is the reality we live in," Nayyem emphasised. 

He also added that the agency had been preparing resolutions to finance projects, but "for some reason, the government did not consider them."

"The resolution on the restoration of settlements for UAH 2.8 billion is now with the government, but it is not being considered. It is not being considered because there is no government committee headed by the dismissed Minister Kubrakov. As for the energy sector, there is a resolution on the redistribution of funds worth UAH 4.5 billion. But it has not been signed either, because representatives of the Ministry of Finance did not attend the governmental committee," Mustafa Nayyem said.

"Interestingly, the government that Nayyem is now complaining about was represented by Deputy Prime Minister for Recovery Kubrakov, whose team Mustafa is part of," a source in the Ministry of Finance who wished to remain anonymous responded to the accusations. And Nayyem had direct access to Kubrakov. It's strange that he has now forgotten the name of the minister concerned so quickly. There were no answers or documents to our requests: give us the calculations, give us the documents on what the money was spent on. Moreover, the agency has not even spent the money it was allocated."

According to's source, the state budget allocated UAH 195.7 billion for the Agency's restoration in 2023-2024 (including UAH 130.4 billion in 2023 and UAH 65.3 billion in 2024), but the Agency used only UAH 92.3 billion of this amount (including UAH 82 billion in 2023 and UAH 10.3 billion as of 1 May 2024). 

Another claim of government officials to the Agency concerns the construction of water pipelines that had to be built after the destruction of the Kakhovka reservoir. 

Preparatory work for the construction of main waterworks in areas affected by the undermining of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station.
Photo: Facebook/Oleksandr Kubrakov
Preparatory work for the construction of main waterworks in areas affected by the undermining of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station.

"In 2023, UAH 8.5 billion was allocated from the state budget to road builders without a project. Almost the entire amount is an advance payment. But the water pipelines have not been built, although they promised to launch them by the end of October 2023," said a source at the Ministry of Finance. "In 2024, in March, the Cabinet of Ministers allocated another UAH 5.2 billion to complete the construction of water pipelines by 1 April. But the contractors said they now need almost UAH 18.9 billion instead of UAH 13.5 billion. At the same time, the Restoration Agency gave an indicator in the passport instead of commissioning that the water pipelines would be 70-80% ready by the end of 2024, as it intended to receive an additional UAH 3.3 billion under the Rapid Restoration project to build three water pipelines." 

Instead, Mustafa Nayyem noted that over the past month, he had sent several official letters to the Prime Minister and the National Security and Defence Council warning of a halt to construction work due to the lack of a government decision on funding. He also asked the Prime Minister's Office for a meeting. But he received no response. 

He assured me that he would not avoid responsibility if violations were found. 

On 18 June, the government dismissed Mustafa Nayyem from the post of head of the State Agency for the Restoration and Development of Infrastructure.

Anna SteshenkoAnna Steshenko, Journalist
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