Energy crisis in Ukraine: Zelenskyy appeals for European support amid Russian devastation

Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks at a conference on the restoration of Ukraine in Berlin, June 11, 2024
Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks at a conference on the restoration of Ukraine in Berlin, June 11, 2024

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on European partners to provide Ukraine with equipment from decommissioned European power plants and direct financial support for the country's energy sector, Interfax-Ukraine reported on June 11.

“Ukraine is now suffering from the most destructive form of Russia’s vision of energy as a weapon,” Zelenskyy said at the Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC2024) in Berlin.

“Russian missile and drone strikes have already destroyed 9 GW of capacity. While the peak energy consumption in Ukraine last winter was 18 GW. So, half of it does not exist anymore.”

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“But the numbers themselves are meaningless. What is 9 GW? Berlin has about 2 GW of demand. Munich – up to 3. We have already lost many times more generation than the energy consumption of large cities,” he said, noting that 80% of Ukraine’s thermal generation and a third of its hydro generation have been destroyed.

“This is not the limit of his [Putin’s] terror. Unfortunately. But we have to draw a line and start restoring the energy sector,” Zelenskyy said.

“We must do everything possible and impossible to preserve the existing generation and restore our lost one to the maximum.”

This task is important not only from a Ukrainian perspective. As Putin attempts to refine the practice of destroying energy facilities in Ukraine, everything that has now been rebuilt, repaired, and protected in Ukraine will have a double effect, he said.

“It will serve Ukraine and Europe, it will serve as a basis for the energy supply for the next decades, and it will also prove that Russia’s arsenal will not retain such weapons as blackout,” Zelenskyy said.

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“Ukraine has all the natural resources for modern energy. But without your loans and investments, we will not be able to realize that. And we are not talking about grants, but about high-yield investments for your companies, a large market for your equipment, loan programs for your institutions. All this together with us will create a new energy base, at least tens of thousands of new jobs, and provide us and you with tangible economic growth.”

“In the short term, we also must implement a rapid and cost-effective restoration of all the power facilities that can be restored now,” Zelenskyy said, emphasizing that the implementations must be made by winter, within three or four months.

“We know how to do it,” the President said.

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“We are asking you to provide us with the equipment from your shutdown power plants and direct financial assistance. This will allow us to respond to the situation here and now – to preserve normal life.”

President Zelenskyy arrived in Germany on June 11 to attend the URC2024. During his visit, he also plans to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The Kyiv School of Economics estimates suggest that the direct damages to Ukraine’s energy sector as of May 2024 exceed $16.1 billion.

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