Roughly 70 countries and organizations pledged to provide Ukraine with roughly $1 billion in immediate aid that will help the country get through the winter as Russia continues to target its critical infrastructure.
Officials gathered in Paris on Tuesday for the one-day summit where representatives from around the globe discussed what aid they could provide to help Ukraine get through the winter months as their energy grid has been pummeled by Russian forces for months now.
“It’s tangible proof Ukraine is not alone,” French President Emmanuel Macron said, flanked by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and first lady Olena Zelenska. “The fight you are waging is a fight for your freedom, your sovereignty. But it is also a fight for the international order and for the stability of us all.”
“Since Ukraine has got back on top on the ground, Russia, whose military weaknesses have been exposed, has adopted a cynical strategy that targets civilian infrastructure to bring Ukraine to its knees,” Macron said in his opening speech. “For each of your country’s victories on the ground, Russia’s cowardly response is to bomb power, gas or water infrastructure necessary for the people’s survival this winter.”
Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said the parties agreed to provide roughly a billion dollars in aid, with roughly $400 million devoted to fixing Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, with the rest going to Ukraine’s health, food, water, and transportation sectors. The pledges are contributions “that can be mobilized immediately, between now and the winter months,” she said.
“This is a powerful signal to show the civilized world is supporting Ukraine,” Shmyhal told reporters in Paris. “We are grateful to the countries that remain by our side when we are suffering the aggression by Russia on our territory and our civilian infrastructure.”
France agreed to commit an additional $80 million of humanitarian aid, of which $51 million or so will focus on the energy grid repairs and access to water, food, health, and transport infrastructure. Germany pledged more than $53 million, and Switzerland agreed to invest another $100 million for emergency humanitarian aid.
In a virtual address to the conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for $843 million in aid to support the country’s critical infrastructure. Noting the seemingly high price tag, he said, “the price is less than the cost of the blackout.”
All of Ukraine’s thermal and hydroelectric power stations have been damaged, as have 40% of the high-voltage network facilities, he said over the weekend.
Late last month, the U.S. announced an aid package worth more than $53 million to Ukraine to support their efforts in repairing the destroyed critical infrastructure that Russia has spent months targeting.
“This supply package will include distribution transformers, circuit breakers, surge arresters, disconnectors, vehicles, and other key equipment,” a statement from the State Department’s press office said at the time. “We will continue to identify additional support with allies and partners, and we are also helping to devise long-term solutions for grid restoration and repair, along with our assistance for Ukraine’s effort to advance the energy transition and build an energy system decoupled from Russian energy.”
The Biden administration’s most recent military aid to Ukraine, valued at $275 million and announced last Friday, included approximately 150 generators.