US pledges $53m in energy aid to Ukraine

Russia continues to attack Ukrainian power facilities as winter approaches

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With winter fast approaching and a seemingly endless barrage of Russian attacks on Ukrainian power facilities, the US promised on Tuesday to send $53 million in badly needed energy equipment to Ukraine.

“This equipment will be rapidly delivered to Ukraine on an emergency basis to help Ukrainians persevere through the winter,” the State Department said in a release.

“This supply package will include distribution transformers, circuit breakers, surge arresters, disconnectors, vehicles and other key equipment.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the announcement during a meeting with his counterparts in the Group of Seven on the sidelines of the Nato ministerial meeting in Bucharest, Romania.

The $53 million in assistance is in addition to the $55 million the US sent to help bolster Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in October.

Since the Russian invasion on February 24, the US has sent nearly $32 billion in aid to Ukraine, including $145 million to boost the country's power sector.

“We will continue to identify additional support with allies and partners, and we are also helping to devise long-term solutions for grid restoration and repair, along with our assistance for Ukraine’s effort to advance the energy transition and build an energy system decoupled from Russian energy,” the State Department said.

Despite a string of military setbacks, Russia has managed to do considerable damage to Ukraine's energy infrastructure in recent weeks.

At times, attacks have plunged much of the country into darkness, and with temperatures typically at or below freezing throughout the winter, a lack of heating could prove deadly.

Nearly eight million Ukrainians have fled to countries in Europe since the conflict intensified earlier this year and an additional 6.5 million have been displaced within Ukraine, UN figures show.

Updated: November 29, 2022, 5:27 PM