Ukraine receives 1 billion dollars in aid from Western allies to get through the winter
Ukraine’s Western allies pledged an extra billion euros ($1.1 billion) in emergency aid over the winter on Tuesday, responding to a plea from President Volodymyr Zelensky to help the country fend off an onslaught. Russian ferocity into their energy grid.
French President Emmanuel Macron said about 70 countries and international organizations had gathered in Paris for a meeting aimed at helping Ukrainians “get through this winter”.
In a video message, Zelensky said Ukraine needed about 800 million euros in short-term assistance to its struggling energy sector.
“That’s a very high amount of course, but the cost is less than the cost of the possibility of a blackout,” Zelensky told the conference via video link.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said commitments to the energy sector included 400 million euros in funds raised on Tuesday.
Ukraine needs spare parts for repairs, high-power generators, more gas as well as increased electricity imports, Zelensky said.
“Generators have become as essential as armored vehicles and bulletproof vests,” he said.
Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said 40 to 50 percent of the country’s electricity grid is down because of Russian air strikes.
Many areas of the country only have electricity for a few hours a day.
Another 1.5 million people lost power in southern Odessa over the weekend following Russian drone attacks.
“They want to put us in the dark and that will fail, thanks to our partners around the world,” Shmygal told delegates.
– Hit the shuttlecock –
On the battlefield on Tuesday, local authorities in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol said pro-Kiev forces used explosives to destroy a strategic bridge.
Melitopol is an important transportation hub for Russian forces in the Zaporizhzhia region and key to Ukraine’s hopes of liberating southern Ukraine.
The bridge in the eastern suburbs “has been damaged by terrorists,” Vladimir Rogov, a regional official in Moscow, said on the messaging app Telegram.
He did not specify the extent of the damage, but pictures on his social media accounts show a middle part of the bridge has collapsed.
In another development on Tuesday, Belarus held a surprise inspection of its armed forces, raising concerns about the possibility of an escalation of the conflict.
Belarus is a close ally of Moscow, but Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly said he has no plans to send Belarusian troops to Ukraine.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Shmygal also said on Tuesday that the United Nations nuclear watchdog IAEA had agreed to send permanent teams to monitor the country’s nuclear plants.
They are expected to take up positions in the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia factory, a flashpoint of fighting that has been a global concern in recent months.
An agreement to demilitarize the site, under which both sides withdraw their troops, has so far failed to materialize despite international diplomatic efforts.
– Aid mechanism –
Tuesday’s conference in Paris, themed “Standing with the Ukrainian people,” also saw the launch of the so-called new Paris Mechanism to coordinate civilian aid to Ukraine.
The digital platform, unveiled by the G7 leaders on Monday, will allow Ukraine to list its requests and allow international donors to coordinate their responses in real time.
“A large number of countries will use this mechanism – all members of the European Union, but it will extend beyond other partners, including non-European partners,” said Colonna. with reporters.
She emphasized that Bahrein, Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Qatar were represented at Tuesday’s meeting – “countries that you rarely see at international conferences on Ukraine,” she said.
A similar platform exists for military aid, coordinated through meetings of Ukraine’s Western allies at the US-run Ramstein military base in Germany.
– ‘War Crimes’ –
Macron held Tuesday’s conference with Zelensky’s wife, Olena, providing an opportunity for the French leader to reaffirm his support for Kiev.
He has angered some of his allies in Kiev in the past, most notably in June when he said “we must not humiliate Russia”.
On 3 December, he also called on Russia to be provided with “security guarantees” when the war ended, drawing criticism from some Ukrainian and Eastern European politicians.
Although a diplomatic solution to the war is seen as a possible conclusion, critics believe the only focus should remain on repelling Russian forces militarily.
Macron condemned Russia’s “violent” and “cowardly” attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.
“These attacks… which Russia openly acknowledges as aimed at breaking the resistance of the Ukrainian people, are war crimes,” he said in his opening remarks.
“There is no doubt that they violate the most basic principles of humanitarian law. These acts are intolerable and will not go unpunished,” he said.
In Russia, the Kremlin has announced that Putin will not hold his annual year-end press conference this year, a break with tradition.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov gave no reason not to hold the event, which Putin presides over almost every year when he has been in power since 2000.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)
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