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Tuesday 7 February 2023 Dublin: 5°C
DAINA LE LARDIC
VOICES
EU parliament president In times of crisis, we need hope - here's what we can do for Ukraine
Roberta Metsola outlines a campaign to deliver generators to Ukraine as it faces a winter of war.

THE WAR IN Ukraine is continuing unabatedly. Every day we hear about new atrocities of seemingly indiscriminate bombing of civilians.

But we also see deliberate and targeted attacks on critical civilian infrastructure, such as electricity transmission networks.

Pushed back on the battlefield, the Kremlin has turned its war machine on civilians. To deprive them of the basics: water, electricity and heating. To wear them down. This is inhumane, violates every international and humanitarian law, and amounts to war crimes.

As a result of Russia’s unrelenting attacks, more than half of Ukraine’s electricity network has been damaged or destroyed, leaving millions of Ukrainians without electricity. And the strikes keep coming faster than the Ukrainian emergency services manage to restore the power supply.

russia-ukraine-war AP / PA Images Zelenskyy inspects damaged buildings as he visits town of Vyshgorod as Ukrainian authorities endeavored to restore electricity and water services after recent pummeling by Russian military strikes that vastly damaged infrastructure. AP / PA Images / PA Images

This is why the European Parliament teamed up with Eurocities – the network of Europe’s more than 200 largest cities – to donate power generators, transformers and spare parts of the electricity networks to help Ukrainians get through the harsh winter ahead.

Pushing for hope

The ‘Generators of Hope’ campaign is an efficient and concrete way to help bring energy and clean water to people under constant barrage.

To guarantee everyday services we take for granted. These generators will help keep essential facilities in the country running, providing energy to hospitals, schools, water supply facilities, relief centres, shelters, phone masts and more.

childhood-in-wartime Adaa Zagorodnya November 30, 2022, Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine: Girl builds Lego during power outage. Adaa Zagorodnya

I, therefore, call on all cities, towns and regions across Europe to join the ‘Generators of Hope’ campaign. We are reaching out further through our networks, through all our 705 Members of the European Parliament and beyond, to mobilise for Ukraine. Together we can make a real difference.

metsola 3 President Metsola President Metsola

The idea, as simple as practical, is possible to implement quickly. Generators are scarce on the market, and national authorities have already donated what is possible from their stocks. But there is spare capacity in cities, towns and regions across Europe, and they can participate.

children-during-blackout-ukraine SerhiiHudak Alevtyna, 8, whose parents fled from the war in Luhansk in 2014, holds a torch as she reads a book during a power cut caused by Russia's missile attacks against Ukraine's critical infrastructure, Uzhhorod, Zakarpattia Region, western Ukraine. November 30, 2022. SerhiiHudak

National civil protection authorities collect donations, which will be rapidly transported to one of the three hubs in the EU under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Ukraine can then decide where the equipment is most urgently needed within the country and they will then be taken to their final destination.

Since the announcement, we have already secured generators of various sizes and powers from multiple cities, from Rome to Stockholm. We are receiving offers of generators from ordinary people who want to contribute. Europeans want to help. This is solidarity in action. This is Europe in action.

We can be proud of the solidarity the EU and its Member States have shown with Ukraine on the political, humanitarian, military and financial fronts. This has been demonstrated by granting the EU candidate status to Ukraine and putting in place sanctions against Russia, by supplying aid to Ukraine and receiving millions of Ukrainians fleeing the war, by delivering much needed military equipment and training, and with aid packages of €9 billion this and €18 billion next year.

We visited Kyiv to show our friendship and commitment to the Ukrainian people. Now it is time for practical, tangible support to help Ukraine get through the winter.

In times of crisis, we need hope. We need friends. We need support. In Ukraine, people need electricity, water and heating this winter. We can help. We can contribute. We can do it.

Roberta Metsola is President of the European Parliament.

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