Zelenskiy asks G7 leaders to approve 'Marshall Plan' for Ukraine reconstruction

Italy hosts G7 summit in Puglia

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked the leaders of the G7 group of countries on Thursday to approve a "Marshall Plan" for Ukraine's reconstruction after the damage caused by Russia's invasion.

"We need a clear plan for the recovery of Ukraine. Similar to what the Marshall Plan was for Europe after the war," he told the G7 leaders according to a readout of his speech posted on the presidential website.

The Marshall Plan was a multi-billion dollar programme of economic aid delivered by the United States to its European allies after the Second World War, and is credited for revitalising those economies after the conflict's devastation.

The World Bank has estimated that rebuilding Ukraine will cost nearly $500 billion.

The full-scale war started nearly 28 months ago when Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine and shows no signs of ending soon, with Russia making slight territorial gains this year.

Zelenskiy also said that the recent lifting of restrictions on the use of Western weapons on targets inside Russia had given Ukraine added protection from air strikes, particularly in the eastern city of Kharkiv.

"However, we are still in search of additional Patriot (air defence systems) and we need more of the same powerful steps that were taken (to enhance) our long-range strike capabilities," he said.

(Reporting by Max Hunder and Yuliia Dysa, editing by Andrew Heavens, Kirsten Donovan)