Ukraine is currently fighting an existential war, suffering immense human, economic and environmental loss. While it might seem premature to plan post-war rebuilding efforts and place additional demands for said rebuild to be green, strong arguments exist for already doing so now. Reconstruction is already starting in those regions Ukraine has liberated. Making the rebuilding green would allow Ukraine to reach its core social, economic, and geopolitical objectives, ensuring energy independence from Russian fossil fuels, speeding up integration with the European Union (EU), and reaping social and environmental co-benefits of a green rebuild while unlocking new economic opportunities.
Yet, due to many trade-offs and a need to overcome heavy past dependencies, greening of the rebuild will not happen easily and will require thorough planning and implementation. This paper aims to contribute to the process of Ukraine’s reconstruction planning by formulating a set of principles, both overarching and sectoral, as a first step towards the operationalisation of a green post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. The findings of the paper show that it will be imperative to align the reconstruction plan with the European Green Deal (EGD) objectives, to clearly define the direction of development and avoid measures and investments that may impede the transition. To operationalise the green reconstruction, a set of indicators in the spirit of the EU Green Taxonomy are needed to provide clear guidance on investments to all parties involved.