US to release emergency aid for Ukraine energy infrastructure

The United States is expected to announce “substantial” financial aid to Ukraine on Tuesday to help the country deal with the damage caused by Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure, senior US officials said.

The aid, which will be detailed by Foreign Minister Antony Blinken on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in the Romanian capital Bucharest, “is significant and it is not the end,” a senior official told reporters on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity and without giving further details.

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However, he noted that the Biden administration had budgeted $1.1 billion for energy spending in Ukraine and Moldova.

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It is happening before an international donor conference on support for the Ukrainian civil resistance, to be held on December 13 in France, he pointed out.

A Russian campaign of missile strikes targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has damaged between 25 and 30 percent of the grid, according to figures cited by Kiev.

“What the Russians have done is to target these large substations. They are high-voltage substations”, not just power plants, the US official said, a move aimed at disrupting the entire energy network from generation to distribution.

NATO foreign ministers will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday in Bucharest, where the alliance’s support for Ukraine since the Russian invasion will be discussed.

Germany, which currently chairs the G7, has called a meeting on Tuesday afternoon on the sidelines of the NATO gathering to discuss the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.

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The US will call on the other member states to strengthen their assistance in this area, says the US official.

It will also be an opportunity to highlight “the remarkable cohesion and unity that is still there among all the Allies” since the start of the war, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Karen Donfried told reporters on Monday.

Romania, as well as neighboring Moldova, has been badly affected by the war, and around two million people fleeing Ukraine have passed through the country.

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Bucharest currently hosts nearly 80,000 refugees, according to figures cited by Washington.

In addition to the war in Ukraine, NATO ministers will take stock of progress in the accession of Finland and Sweden, which has already been ratified by 28 of the 30 member states, but remains suspended pending the green light from Turkey and Hungary.

They will also discuss the growing threat from China. This discussion, initiated at the NATO summit in June in Madrid, “is not about NATO going to China; it really reflects the challenges of China coming to Europe”, Donfried said, citing in particular the technological challenge.

Read more:

US announces $400 million more in military aid to Ukraine

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