Deputy Durkan raised the first question. What was interesting about the three towns just outside Kyiv that I visited was that none was a military town and, therefore, there was no militarism there. There was no need to undertake the atrocities carried out by Russian forces on the people of those towns. I went to the town of Bucha and to the church there. I met with the priest and the people there. They had a photographic exhibition of young men, hands tied behind their backs who were murdered. It was quite horrific, graphic and shocking. If a young man was caught with a mobile phone in his hand, the Russian forces might suggest that he was ringing somebody in the Ukrainian army. He would be taken out and killed; summarily executed. In Irpin, likewise, there were just residential blocks bombed. There was no military context whatsoever.
In many of the cases, citizen defence committees were trying to hold things together. The economic prospects of these towns is very bleak. Much of our meeting focused on reconstruction and how the EU can help as it is committed to that. Other countries are helping out Ukraine. There are the issues of immediate supports and then reconstruction.
We have given assistance in a variety of ways. We have given direct humanitarian funding to Ukraine. We have provided funding to the Red Cross. In the context of international war crimes, we have allocated an extra €3 million to the International Criminal Court, which Deputy Haughey and others raised, to improve its capacity. There must be careful gathering of evidence of war crimes by the courts and the International Criminal Court has the expertise to do that. That needs to be followed through on. Deputy Richmond raised a similar issue and asked whether we are doing enough. We are in my view. The Ukrainian Government asked EU member states to help specific regions, almost in a twinning relationship, to recover and reconstruct basic services, such as schools and hospitals and so forth. The Government is examining that proposal, as well as providing supports more broadly with our European colleagues.
On the financial issue raised by Deputy Paul Murphy and others, EU leaders agreed to support Ukraine via exceptional macro financial assistance of up to €9 billion in 2022. Disbursement of the first €1 billion was agreed before the summer break. EU finance ministers recently agreed to accelerate the next tranche of €5 billion, which is in addition to the €1.2 billion emergency loan provided to Ukraine earlier this year.
The EU will be the key player in the reconstruction of Ukraine. Along with international partners, we will work with our EU colleagues. Through our Presidency of the Council of Europe, Ireland has worked with the other 45 member states of the council on an action plan to assist rebuilding work in Ukraine. We made a €1 million contribution to a specially established Ukraine donor fund in the Council of Europe Development Bank.
On the liquidity questions, it is not as simple as saying that the debt should just be cancelled. There are various mechanisms, via the IMF, World Bank and so on, whereby Ukraine is being facilitated. Its economy has collapsed by approximately 50% so efforts have been made, in the allocation of European funding to Ukraine, that they will be able to pay the basic wages of citizens.
One of the biggest challenges facing Ukraine is that many of its workers are on the front line fighting and many millions have left Ukraine. This in itself is having an impact on the country and, therefore, President Zelenskyy is anxious that people will come back to Ukraine to provide childcare and various services.
We will do everything we can to pursue the war crimes issue. I pay tribute to Ms Justice Siofra O'Leary, on her elevation to the position of President of the European Court of Human Rights, which is significant and fantastic achievement for an Irish woman. I had the privilege of meeting her on my recent visit to Strasbourg. It is tremendous news indeed.
Looking at what has happened in recent weeks, two nuclear plants have been threatened by Russia. A bomb fell within 300 ft of a plant. This is deadly and dangerous stuff in Ukraine with nuclear plants being put at risk as a result of Russian aggression, bombs and so forth. A reservoir dam was also destroyed in retaliation.
I think I have covered most questions. We will continue to work with the Ukrainian Government to do whatever we can to support Ukraine, in particular its application to the EU, reconstruction and in respect of its interaction with the IMF, EU and World Bank. All member states have a role on those bodies in terms of guarantees we give. One cannot say, "Let's cancel this." That would have repercussions across the system. There are structured ways to deal with this and help Ukraine financially, which people in all organisations have been responsive to at all levels.