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Italy loans 100 million euros to bolster Ukraine's energy sector

by Abbey Fenbert and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 18, 2024 1:04 AM 2 min read
Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani in Paris, France on Jan. 5, 2023. (Mustafa Yalcin/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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Italy's Foreign Affairs Minister Antonio Tajani signed an agreement with Ukrainian and European officials on Feb. 17 offering support to Ukraine's energy sector, according to a press release from the Italian government.

Since the onset of the full-scale invasion, Russian attacks regularly damage or destroy equipment and facilities associated with Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

The agreement lays out the terms of a subsidized loan worth 100 million euros ($107.8 million) to the state-owned energy company Ukrhydroenergo. Tajani signed the agreement with Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Odile Renaud-Basso, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Italy's loan is part of a larger EBRD support program for Ukraine's hydroelectric power company worth 200 million euros. The other half of the loan will come directly from the EBRD.

“Italy has stood by Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian aggression and today we reaffirm our willingness to help our Ukrainian friends also in the strategic sector of energy infrastructure," Tajani said.

Tajani also said that Italy's Group of Seven (G7) presidency will focus on supporting Ukraine, and that Italy will host a Ukraine Recovery Conference in 2025.

Kyiv and the EBRD signed an agreement in June 2023 for a 600 million euro ($654 million) financing package to bolster energy security in Ukraine. The deal allocates 200 million euros to Naftogaz, 200 million euros to Ukrenergo, and 200 million euros to Ukrhydroenergo.

The EBRD announced its loan to Naftogaz in November 2023.

Russia launched mass attacks against Ukraine's energy infrastructure during the autumn and winter of 2022-2023, resulting in blackouts across the country amid freezing temperatures.

The current winter brought yet another wave of massive strikes, but Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Jan. 30 that the energy sector remains stable despite Russia's onslaught.

Ukraine's hydroelectric infrastructure suffered a massive blow in June 2023, when Russian forces blew up the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant. Ukrhydroenergo representatives said that building a new dam and hydroelectric station would take at least five years and cost at least $1 billion.

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