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Swiss give 100 million francs to help Ukraine through the winter

AFP
AFP - [email protected] • 3 Nov, 2022 Updated Thu 3 Nov 2022 10:48 CEST
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In this file photo taken on October 27, 2022, a worker examines damage as he repairs power line equipment destroyed after a missile strike on a power plant, in an undisclosed location of Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. - Russian drones and missile strikes led to power cuts in "hundreds of settlements" across seven Ukrainian regions on October 31, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)

The Swiss government agreed Wednesday to provide 100 million francs in aid to Ukraine to help provide drinking water and rehabilitate the conflict-torn country's damaged energy infrastructure as winter approaches.

Switzerland's government, the Federal Council, said in a statement that it had "adopted an action plan to mitigate the impact of the coming winter on the people of Ukraine".

"In addition to its existing humanitarian undertaking in Ukraine and the region, it is making 100 million Swiss francs available for projects to support the urgent rehabilitation of energy infrastructure and alleviate the precarious humanitarian situation."

During a meeting in Kyiv last month, Swiss President Ignazio Cassis and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky had discussed the best ways to provide assistance to those affected by the war there as winter approached, the statement said.

It pointed out that the already dire humanitarian situation in Ukraine had "become even more precarious in recent week due to targeted attacks on energy infrastructure and basic supply systems".

Some 18 million people in Ukraine, or around 40 percent of the population, are already reliant on aid since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in
February, it said.

"With the onset of winter, this number may rise to 24 million," the statement said, as around a third of Ukraine's energy infrastructure had been
damaged.

"The targeted attacks have left many places without access to drinking water, as well as disrupting power and telecommunications. Ukraine requires additional aid from the international community to deal with this emergency."

Bern said that Switzerland was helping Ukrainian energy companies to purchase energy sources and spare parts, and was contributing to repair of
rail fastening systems for the transport of heavy goods, such as grain.

It was also providing humanitarian support to help those most affected by the war to prepare for winter, by for instance providing food or replacing windows or insulation.

"Efforts are also under way to determine if Switzerland can supply further relief goods such as generators, pumps or water treatment installations," it
said.

The government said it has submitted a request to the Swiss parliament to provide it with a supplementary credit of 76 million francs to help cover the additional expenses.

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AFP 2022/11/03 10:48

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