Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson visited Ukraine on 1 November to discuss with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Minister of Energy German Galushchenko and international partners the immediate concrete support for its battered energy sector. Russia’s persistent and deliberate targeting of Ukrainian energy infrastructure over the past weeks and months has affected more than 30% of the country’s energy system.
The EU has, together with the Member States and private companies, delivered millions of euros worth of emergency energy equipment to Ukraine, but the level of support needs to be ramped up in light of Russia’s escalating attacks. In addition to the necessary equipment, €25.5 million has been made available to cover the most urgent needs via the Ukraine Energy Support Fund that the Commission has set up with the Energy Community. A dedicated campaign to mobilise further support from the private sector will be launched in the coming days jointly by the Commission, the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine and the Energy Community.
President Zelenskyy thanked the European Commissioner for his visit to Ukraine precisely at the time when the energy infrastructure faces massive attacks by missiles and drones from Russia. He also noted the role of Kadri Simson in Ukraine’s accession to the European power grid ENTSO-E. He reminded that after accession, our state began to export electricity to Europe and can act as one of the guarantors of the stability of the EU energy system.
“Unfortunately, due to the strikes of missiles and kamikaze drones by the Russian Federation on our energy system, we have suspended this process. But I am sure that we will restore everything, and in a calmer time, when the situation in our energy system will be stabilized, we will continue exporting electricity to Europe,” the President of Ukraine emphasized.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy informed the European Commissioner about the consequences of Russia’s energy terrorism, which has already seriously damaged about 40% of the entire energy infrastructure of Ukraine, in particular thermal power plants, combined heat and power plants and hydroelectric power plants, as well as about the measures taken by our state to stabilize the work of the power grid.
The interlocutors discussed further steps to ensure Ukraine’s energy security. The Head of State spoke in detail about Ukraine’s needs for the restoration of energy infrastructure and called on the European Commission to play a coordinating role in attracting assistance from EU member states.
This visit comes just ahead of the winter season and less than a week after the European Commission and the G7 Presidency called for an international ‘Marshall plan for Ukraine’, which would pave the way for the country’s immediate and sustainable reconstruction.
Commissioner Simson also participated in the first meeting of the International Energy Advisory Council for Ukraine (IEAC4U), a new forum announced by Minister Galushchenko at the EU energy ministers’ meeting in Prague in mid-October. The IEAC4U will help coordinate the efforts of all participating countries and will provide technical assistance in matching Ukrainian needs with potential donations.
The visit was also an opportunity for Commissioner Simson to co-chair the EU-Ukraine High-Level Energy Dialogue together with the Minister of Energy, where the immediate needs of the Ukrainian energy system and the security of supply situation, as well as the reconstruction and decarbonisation of its energy system were discussed. At the meeting, the Commissioner announced that 13 million euros have been allocated for the restoration of laboratories damaged by the Russian occupiers at the nuclear site of Chornobyl and that the EU intends to channel through the International Atomic Energy Agency a further €3.5 million as support for Ukraine in this sector.
The Commissioner also met with the members of the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, and had discussions with Ukrenergo and other Ukrainian energy companies.
Since the outbreak of Russia’s unjustified war, the EU has been supporting the Ukrainian energy sector via different channels and means. With ENTSO-E, it has enabled the emergency synchronisation of the Ukrainian and Moldovan electricity grids with the Continental one to ensure stability of the electricity system. To tackle the most immediate needs of reparation, the Commission has promoted the establishment of the Ukraine Energy Support Fund with the Energy Community Secretariat.
Under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the Commission has facilitated numerous shipments of vital energy equipment, from generators to transformers and cables, through its Emergency Response Coordination Centre. In addition, more than 40 million euros worth chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threat countermeasures and equipment have been delivered from the EU reserves. The Commission has also supported with €7.7 million the State Scientific Technical Centre for Nuclear and Radiation Safety of Ukraine.