a billion euros to help the country get through the winter

To enable Ukraine to save electricity, the European Union will finance the purchase of 30 million LED bulbs, which are 88% more economical than conventional bulbs. The participants in the Ukraine aid conference which was held in Paris on Tuesday December 13 wish to provide a total of 50 million. “Their use in Ukraine could save the equivalent of the annual production of a nuclear reactor”, indicated the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, at the opening of this conference.

While the Ukrainian electricity system is today the first target of Russian bombardments, this aid can enable Ukraine to reduce its consumption by 7%, in order to continue to supply the Ukrainians, at least a few hours a day.

In total, more than one billion euros in aid were released during this conference organized jointly by France and Ukraine. These are donations, in cash or in kind, which will be available before mid-March. It is a question of helping this country to get through the winter. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmyhal, while thanking, assured: “We will hold on because we now know that we are supported by the civilized world. »

“You are not alone”

“You are not alone”, echoed Catherine Colonna, French Minister of Foreign Affairs. France will contribute to this effort with an envelope of 125 million euros in aid, of which 76.5 million are new financing and will be used in the first quarter of 2023. The rest corresponds to financing already planned and which must intervene before the end of the year 2022.

Significantly, the conference brought together well beyond the circle of countries that are engaged in military support to Ukraine. Forty-eight States and 22 international organizations participated. In addition to the European countries and the United States and Japan, there were also present the Gulf countries, India, Indonesia, Turkey or Cambodia, States which, so far, have chosen not to apply sanctions against Russia.

Priority to the electricity grid

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen sounded a little dissonant, showing the different points of view on this conflict. While Emmanuel Macron, at the opening of the conference, had praised “the heroism of the Ukrainian army, which has already liberated part of Ukrainian territory”, Hun Sen expressed his condemnation of Russian aggression, but immediately called for a ceasefire and dialogue. “We cannot wage war to end war” he said.

Help to repair the electricity network, or to provide generators, is one of the priorities. “Generators have become as important to us as armored vehicles or bulletproof vests,” launched Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking on video at the opening of this conference. He estimated Ukraine’s needs at 800 million euros to repair what was destroyed by Russian bombing.

More than 4,000 missiles fired at Ukrainian cities

The support proposals also focus on food aid, support for hospitals, water networks and transport infrastructure, or anything that can help the Ukrainian population get through this winter as well as possible. “More than 4,000 missiles were fired at Ukrainian cities, 2,719 schools were destroyed, 1,100 hospitals or medical centers were hit by Russian army fire,” indicated Olena Zelenska, the wife of the Ukrainian president, present at the conference.

The concrete needs of Ukraine will be expressed on an online platform in the coming weeks, and the countries participating in the conference will be able to continue to respond to them. All material or financial support is supposed to be provided before mid-March. The European Commission has also announced the establishment of a network of warehouses in Poland and transport capacity to Ukraine, in order to deliver this emergency aid as quickly as possible.


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