An international conference in support of Ukraine organised in Paris on Tuesday, December 13th, which brought together seventy delegations from countries and international organisations, raised more than €1 billion in donations, including €415 million for the energy sector alone.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had asked for €800 million to help his country, whose infrastructure has been disrupted by Russian attacks. The requested amount was finally met, and exceeded, as Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Chmygal who was present in Paris alongside Olga Zelenska, the wife of the president who himself remained in Ukraine.
Of the billion euros announced, €415 million will be allocated to the energy sector; €25 million to water; €38 million to food; €17 million to health, and €22 million to transport. The rest, nearly 493 million euros, has not yet been distributed, the French minister said.
For several weeks, the Russian army has been specifically targeting energy infrastructure with its strikes. The aim of the conference was therefore to put in place practical and concrete aid to the sectors identified as being the most in need, as millions of Ukrainians are currently deprived of water and electricity. Denys Chmygal estimates that 40-50% of the Ukrainian energy network has been destroyed by the Russian bombing.
The support received is in addition to the military support already provided to Ukraine, particularly by the United States. At the same time, Ukraine continues to ask for weapons to consolidate its position against Russia.
The Paris conference was an opportunity for French President Emmanuel Macron to regain control of aid to Ukraine after some of his last statements were considered too complacent towards Russia by the Ukrainian authorities. France announced an additional €76.5 million in bilateral aid, while the Germans pledged €50 million through Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.
After the conference, held in the morning at the ministry of foreign affairs, an afternoon meeting took place at the ministry of economy. The aim of the meeting was to set out the practical details of the support for Ukraine, involving over 700 companies volunteering to help. In addition to the funds already granted in the morning, France announced three agreements with Ukraine for the supply of rails, bridges, and seed. These goods will be supplied by French or German companies and financed by loans secured by Paris, according to Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.
Meanwhile, peace negotiations are at a standstill after Russia rejected the Ukrainian plan. Moscow is demanding that Kyiv recognise the annexation of the territories claimed by Russia as a precondition for any diplomatic negotiations.