Zelensky calls for urgent help to repair the bombed infrastructure in Ukraine and resist the winter |  International

Zelensky calls for urgent help to repair the bombed infrastructure in Ukraine and resist the winter | International

To defeat Russia, Ukraine needs not only weapons, but also heating, electricity and water to enable the population to resist and defuse Vladimir Putin’s attempts to demoralize it by bombing civilian infrastructure. In an international conference organized this Tuesday in Paris, the Ukrainian president, Volodímir Zelenski, and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, have asked the world for urgent assistance to repair the infrastructure and help the attacked country to get through the winter.

“We have come together with the desire to defeat energy terror,” Zelensky said in a video intervention from Ukraine. “Now most of our power plants are damaged and destroyed by shelling. Also hydraulic power stations and thermal power stations. Imagine what it would mean in your countries. One of the Russian attacks led to the stoppage of all nuclear units. Only the rapid restoration of the energy facilities destroyed by the Russian attacks needs at least 1.5 billion euros.”

Macron declared, addressing Zelensky and the Ukrainian delegation: “With each victory of your country on the ground, Russia cowardly reacts with new bombardments of electricity, gas or water distribution infrastructure, necessary for the survival of the population during the winter. With a clear objective: in response to military defeats, sow terror among civilians.

The conference, organized by Zelenski and Macron, starts from a verification. Russia, forced by the Ukrainian counteroffensive to withdraw from territories conquered in previous months, modified its war strategy in October. It began to focus on the bombing of civilian infrastructure to make the population suffer and weaken their resistance during the winter.

It is not a conference like those that have been held for reconstruction. This time, the priority is the coming months, between December and the end of March. It is about responding to the immediate needs of Ukraine in five areas: energy, water, food, health and transport. To this end, an internet platform has been created that will allow the Ukrainian authorities to announce what they need in the aforementioned fields and donors to respond financially or with material to the requests.

“Uninterruptible generators and feeders have become as necessary as armored vehicles and bulletproof vests,” Zelenski said. Among other necessary material, the Ukrainian president cited electric generators, which allow hospitals and internet connections to be maintained, and 50 million LED light bulbs, which would save electricity. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has promised this Tuesday to finance the purchase of 30 million of these light bulbs.

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Macron announced the mobilization, by France, of 76.5 million euros to facilitate access to energy and water, food aid, health and transport infrastructure, among other areas. He cited the “very short notice” shipment of 63 high-power electric generators and various transformers, adding to the 100 shipped in November.

Chaired by Zelensky and Macron, 48 states (including countries of the Persian Gulf and Asia such as India, but not China or Israel) and 24 international organizations have participated in the Solidarity with the Ukrainian people conference. Zelensky’s wife, Olena Zelenska, and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmihal attended in person. Spain was represented by Antón Leis, director of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation.

For Macron, the conference was an opportunity to show his unity with Zelensky after a few days of unrest between Paris and kyiv. The origin of the tensions were some statements by the French president in which he stated that, in a hypothetical negotiation to end the war, “security guarantees” would have to be given to Russia. “Does anyone want to offer security guarantees to a terrorist and murderous state?” reacted Oleksi Danilov, secretary of the Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

Macron’s words fed the idea in Ukraine and in the countries on the eastern flank of the EU that the French president is excessively complacent with Putin. After the February invasion, he has already made kyiv uncomfortable by asking not to humiliate Russia and has insisted on keeping an open channel of communication with Putin.

In Paris, Macron expressed his full support for Ukraine’s position and its territorial integrity and sovereignty, denounced that Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure are “war crimes” and insisted that Ukraine should be the one to set the conditions for negotiating the peace.

Another objective of the Paris meeting was to demonstrate France’s unconditional support for Zelensky. In parallel to the international conference, another meeting was held, in this case bilateral between France and Ukraine, aimed at allowing French companies to participate in the reconstruction of the country. With a basic idea: that it is not the United States that is left with all the cake.

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