The international conference in support of Ukraine organized in Paris has raised more than a billion euros in donations to help the population to spend the winter in a country with infrastructures ravaged by Russian attacks.
“I am happy to announce that we have exceeded” the 800 million euros in emergency aid requested on Tuesday by the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, at the opening of the meeting, rejoiced the French Minister of Affairs. foreign affairs, Catherine Colonna, alongside the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denys Chmygal.
Thanks to this sum, “our country will not sink into the dark”, launched the Prime Minister, welcoming the “powerful signal” of support for Ukraine from the “civilized world”.
This meeting of more than 70 delegations from states and organizations was set up to allow Ukraine to get through the winter and counter the effects of the recent Russian strategy of hitting its infrastructure (particularly energy) in order to overwhelm population as winter approaches.
Of the billion euros announced on Tuesday, 415 million will be allocated to the energy sector, 25 million to the water sector, 38 million to food, 17 million to health, 22 to transport; the rest, nearly 493 million euros, is not yet broken down, said the French minister.
After the conferences in Lugano, Warsaw and Berlin, in recent months, this meeting was intended to be “practical-practical”, Emmanuel Macron explained at the opening, in the presence of Mr. Zelensky’s wife.
“What is very important for us are the high voltage equipment […], because they are among the most popular targets” of the Russians, had for example explained to Agence France-Presse the Ukrainian Minister of Energy, German Galushchenko.
Moscow’s “cynical” strategy
“Russia, whose weaknesses [on the] military level have come to light, has opted for a cynical strategy”, lamented Mr. Macron, repeating that these strikes constituted “war crimes” which would not “go unpunished”. “.
Regarding the French part, Emmanuel Macron announced for the beginning of 2023 the granting of an additional sum of 76.5 million euros in aid for the winter. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock meanwhile said Berlin would pay 50 million euros.
France intends to play a decisive role in the reconstruction of Ukraine.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, recalling that the European Union had pledged to provide Kyiv with macro-financial assistance of 18 billion euros in 2023, announced the purchase for the benefit of Ukraine of 30 million LED bulbs, significantly less energy-consuming.
Another meeting, between the Ukrainian delegation and French companies, took place in the afternoon at the Ministry of Finance. It resulted in the signing of contracts for the supply of rails, bridges and seeds.
This day was also an opportunity for Emmanuel Macron to show France’s increased commitment to Ukraine, after several of his recent statements had raised some of his European allies’ hackles, who considered them too complacent towards Moscow.
Mr. Chmygal praised the “leadership” of the French head of state “concerning the points of preparation for peace of President” Zelensky. The Kremlin dismissed the Ukrainian peace plan on Tuesday, saying that kyiv must cede the territories which Russia claims should be annexed before any diplomatic negotiations, while the fighting and the bombardments continue – as in Kramatorsk, for example, whose center -city and the industrial area were struck on the same day, according to Ukrainian authorities.
This aid announced in Paris is in addition to the crucial support in military equipment provided by the West, led by the United States. Ukraine continues to clamor for more weapons, having so far pushed back the Russian army gradually.
“Given the scale of the war [..], we are going to have to fight all winter,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba said in an online press conference on Tuesday, calling for “more air and missile defense and ammunition systems, armored vehicles, mainly tracked”. He also mentioned “a very important need” for “additional guns” of 155 mm caliber.
In a video address to New Zealand’s Parliament, Mr. Zelensky also appealed for help in getting rid of mines and other unexploded devices, which he said infest 174,000 km2 of Ukrainian territory, an area equivalent to that of Cambodia or Uruguay.
“There is no real peace for any child who might die from a hidden Russian anti-personnel mine,” insisted the Ukrainian president.
In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will send missions to “secure” five nuclear power plants in Ukraine, including that of Zaporijjia, occupied by the Russian army, underlined Denys Chmygal after a meeting in Paris with the boss of this organization, Rafael Grossi. This agreement will have to “involve the Russian side, obviously”, said Mr. Grossi.
During the press conference, he noted that France was “very active” in securing the plants. For example, “France is going to supply with the IAEA spare parts […] for the emergency generators of the Ukraine South power plant”, indicated Catherine Colonna.
Asked about China’s absence from the meeting, Ms Colonna stressed that she had not been invited, but noted that more and more “friendly” countries had joined the momentum of solidarity, citing representatives of Gulf countries and India or even Hun Sen, the Cambodian Prime Minister.
After the morning meeting, more than 700 business representatives met at the Ministry of Finance for a meeting on the future markets for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
Faced with massive destruction, “we must invest in a reconstruction effort,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a video message. “The mobilization of companies […] is in my eyes crucial” from now on, declared Emmanuel Macron.
“France intends to play a decisive role in the reconstruction of Ukraine”, underlined the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire after the signing of various agreements, in particular on the supply of 150 kilometers of rail, floating bridges and seeds by French and German companies, with funding found by France.
In another video message, Mr. Zelensky told them, “We have a lot of possibilities and opportunities that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. »
Ottawa’s $115 million in tariffs levied on Russian imports
PARIS — Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Tuesday from Paris that Canada would transfer to Ukraine $115 million in customs revenue collected on imports from Russia and Belarus for the repair of the network. Ukrainian electric.
On March 2, Canada applied a 35% tariff rate on almost all goods entering Canada from Russia or Belarus.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Canada has disbursed $2 billion in direct financial assistance to Ukraine. He also pledged over $2.5 billion in military, humanitarian and other aid, bringing the country’s total commitment to over $5 billion so far this year.
Canada also provides additional support to Ukraine through its participation in international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Since the start of the invasion last February, these three institutions have pledged together to provide more than $28.5 billion to support the people of Ukraine.