(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine’s top bureaucrat tasked with reconstruction will miss this year’s showcase conference for donors because of internal political bickering, risking the impression that recovery’s not a priority in Kyiv.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal blocked attendance by the head of the reconstruction agency and has yet to replace the infrastructure minister who was fired by parliament a month ago. The annual Ukraine Recovery Conference on June 11 and 12 in Berlin is designed to mobilize international support for rebuilding from the destruction of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to open the event along with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. But the State Infrastructure and Reconstruction Development Agency “won’t be present,” the agency’s head Mustafa Nayyem said in an email.

“The prime minister personally rejected my request for this business trip to Berlin without giving reasons,” he said. The prime minister’s office didn’t reply to a request for comment after business hours.

While more than 20 top Ukrainian officials are listed as participants — including ministers for the economy, finance, health and foreign affairs, and the acting infrastructure minister — the decision to block Nayyem’s attendance and failure to appoint a permanent minister could give the impression that Ukraine’s government doesn’t see reconstruction as an urgent issue.

Zelenskiy’s presence will compensate somewhat at a political level, but there will be discontent among bureaucrats as the situation is “not normal,” Hlib Vyshlinsky, the executive director at the Centre for Economic Strategy in Kyiv, said in a message.

“It shows that nobody is interested in recovery for the time being,” Vyshlinsky said. “There is no money for it and support for defense is more important, along with the summit on Ukraine’s peace formula and long-term budget financing.”

Ukraine’s reputation has been shaken by corruption scandals, complicating efforts to lure overseas support. The country needs at least $486 billion to rebuild, the World Bank estimated in February as the war entered its third year. The figure has surged as Russia stepped up missile attacks on Ukrainian power generating network facilities since the end of March. The European Investment Bank has put the cost of reconstruction at more than $1 trillion.

Shmyhal has yet to nominate a replacement for Infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, who was dismissed by Ukrainian lawmakers. Kubrakov had also served as deputy premier in charge of wartime reconstruction. Infrastructure Agency head Nayyem was brought in by Kubrakov.

Nayyem said he had planned to take part in panels as well as a meeting organized by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP with more than 100 German companies to discuss Ukraine’s reconstruction perspectives, challenges and transparency. 

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