Volodymyr Zelensky: We need the Paris Mechanism, which will help give timely responses to the challenges of Russian energy terror
Address by the President of Ukraine to the participants of “In solidarity with the Ukrainian People” conference
I am glad that we are united by such a new format – such a Conference. Because this means that we are united by the ability to defeat Russian energy terror.
I remember how you, Emmanuel, called me on November 1 and offered to organize such a format. There have already been massive missile strikes against our energy sector. The constant terror of Iranian drones has already begun. Russia has opened a new front against us, trying to provoke a humanitarian catastrophe of the scale of our entire country. Russia needs a blackout in Ukraine to use it as an alleged defeat of Europe and all our democratic resistance.
In response, we established a new format of cooperation and do everything for the sake of the country, for the sake of Ukrainians, against blackouts, against energy terror.
What do we have for today?
Ukraine withstood hundreds of Russian strikes of varying intensity at our energy sector. But now most of our power plants are unfortunately damaged or destroyed by shelling. All hydroelectric power plants, all thermal power plants… God forbid, but imagine what this would mean in your countries.
One of the Russian strikes provoked the shutdown of all the nuclear units of our nuclear power plants, automation was activated – fortunately, without incident.
At least one and a half billion euros are needed only for the superficial quick restoration of Ukrainian energy facilities destroyed by Russian strikes.
Every time, after every Russian strike, we try to restore the technical ability to generate and supply electricity. Nevertheless, every day our energy workers have to disconnect millions of Ukrainians from the supply due to a critical shortage of electricity in the general energy system.
Right now, about 12 million people in almost all regions and the capital are disconnected from the supply. Unfortunately, this is a typical situation for us. And we expect new Russian strikes every day, which can dramatically increase the number of shutdowns.
That is why generators and uninterruptible power sources have now become as necessary in Ukraine as armored vehicles and bulletproof vests. This is the only way to protect ordinary people and the social order in the conditions of the Russian bid for blackout. In fact, a decentralized energy generation system parallel to the main one is currently being built in Ukraine. It is being built very quickly, in all regions, by many subjects.
But still, it cannot meet all the needs of Ukraine.
Yes, thousands of Ukrainian enterprises, small and medium-sized businesses, social facilities continue to work thanks to generators.
Yes, hospitals function on generators, hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been saved thanks to generators, the Internet and communications are insured against outages.
More than 5,000 Points of Invincibility have been opened across the country – special facilities where people can warm up, charge equipment and use communications.
And I am grateful to all our partners who are already helping Ukraine with the appropriate equipment to maintain such a level of energy sustainability of our state and society.
But still, the key task is to preserve the main energy system of Ukraine, to guarantee its stable operation despite any Russian efforts to make Ukraine the darkest place in Europe.
That is why such a format is needed.
Here and now we have to agree on specific things that will not only help Ukraine endure the winter. They will also prove as clearly as possible to any anti-democratic and anti-European forces, and primarily to Russia, that Europe has learned to prevent catastrophe and protect its people.
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I will be as specific as possible now.
First. We need several categories of equipment – these are transformers, equipment for restoring high-voltage networks, gas turbine and gas piston power units. Ukrainian representatives who are present at the Conference can inform you about all the technical characteristics of this request.
Second. At least until the end of this heating season in Ukraine, we need emergency support from the European energy system. That is, the supply of electricity from the countries of the European Union to Ukraine. The volume is up to two gigawatts.
For this to become possible, a decision of ENTSO-E to increase import capacity is necessary. Again, all the technical details of such a decision will be presented by our government officials who are present at the Conference.
Such electricity supply support could cost around 800 million euros in current prices. This is significant. But significantly less than a blackout in Ukraine could cost us all. Therefore, I urge you to make one of the concrete results of this Conference the approval of all decisions for such support of Ukraine with the supply of electricity from EU countries.
Third. By analogy with the observation missions of the IAEA, which have been agreed to be sent to all nuclear power plants of Ukraine, we call on the European Union to send special missions to the objects of critical energy infrastructure, which are involved in the energy supply of Ukraine and on which the stability of our entire region directly depends. Such EU missions could become a reliable factor in stabilizing the situation and proper international control.
Fourth. Due to the destruction of power plants by terrorists, we are forced to use more gas this winter than expected. As a result, we need support in the purchase of about two billion cubic meters of gas. It is also a necessary element of our stability that needs your leadership.
Fifth. Another practical result of this Conference could be an agreement on the financing of the project, which Emmanuel has already started talking about, on the purchase of LED lamps for Ukraine. This may not seem significant to someone. But 50 million such lamps will save about one gigawatt of electricity. Given that the average deficit in our power system is about two and a half gigawatts, this project could also help significantly.
And sixth. We need a special permanent mechanism for coordinating efforts – the Paris Mechanism. This will make it possible to provide timely and effective responses to every challenge of Russian energy terror. Unfortunately, we do not yet have such a modern air defense system that can shoot down Russian missiles and drones one hundred percent, however we can create such a decision-making system that can one hundred percent make Russia’s terrorist tactics meaningless.
When the energy stability of Ukraine is guaranteed for the entire winter period, when it is guaranteed that there will be no new waves of mass migration from our country to your countries, it will also be guaranteed that no strikes, no blackouts, no search for weapons somewhere out there in Iran or elsewhere will help Russia.
Russia will have to think about how to stop aggression. Finally stop.
Energy is one of the keys to this. I believe that this key will be in our hands, in your hands.
Thank you for your attention!
Once again, thank you, Mr. President, Emmanuel, for organizing this Conference. I count on very specific decisions.
Glory to Ukraine!