French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday pledged an additional 125 million euros ($132 million) in aid to Ukraine.
He said during the opening of the international conference in support of Ukraine in the French capital, Paris, that his country had “already provided” a total of 151.5 million euros in aid to Ukraine since the outbreak of the war between Moscow and Kiev last February.
He added that he had decided to provide an additional support package of 125 million euros, including 48.5 million euros for humanitarian relief, and 76.5 million euros to meet Ukraine’s energy needs.
He pointed to the importance of Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction, adding: “An economic forum will be held this afternoon, attended by Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal and about 700 companies.”
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Earlier in the day, the French president revealed that talks are underway with the aim of removing heavy weapons from the Zaporizhia nuclear plant in Ukraine.
He said: “There is an agreement to disarm heavy weapons from the Zaporizhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, and discussions are now taking place on means of implementation.”
He added, “We managed to protect Chernobyl and our goal is to protect Zaporizhia, and the coming weeks will be decisive.”
In the context, the French President stressed that the aim of the international conference in Paris is to help the Ukrainians “resist and stand firm during this winter.”
And he considered that Russia’s destruction of infrastructure in Ukraine “aims to subdue civilians.”
He said that Russia wants to break the resistance of the Ukrainian people by targeting civilian infrastructure, adding that such attacks constitute “war crimes”.
In the context, Macron praised Ukraine’s “courage and determination,” and explained that the conference was “concrete proof that Ukraine is not alone.”
For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, addressing the conference via video link, said that his country needs about 800 million euros ($842.6 million) in emergency aid for the energy sector.
He said that providing generators and uninterruptible energy sources has become as necessary in Ukraine as providing armored vehicles and bulletproof vests.
Zelensky added that the large-scale missile strikes hit the country’s energy infrastructure, and that most of Ukraine’s power plants were either damaged or destroyed.
He continued, “We need several categories of equipment and transformers. Our energy system needs at least until the end of the heating season emergency assistance by the European energy system.”