Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide visits Ukraine

Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide is currently in Ukraine where he met with Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba and visited a power plant. Norway is now mobilising support to provide electrical materials and equipment to Ukraine’s power sector.

Blilde av Utenriksminister Espen Barth Eide er i Ukraina gåden på et fortau utendørs i dress
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Espen Barth Eide. Credit: MFA

The Trypilska power plant was destroyed by Russian bombs last Thursday. The power plant was rebuilt using Norwegian funding last year.

‘We will help to rebuild the power plant again, if necessary. Norway will continue its support to Ukraine for many years to come,’ said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide on his visit to another power plant outside the capital today.

Norway is providing substantial financial support to rebuild damaged energy infrastructure and is working with European partners to coordinate thousands of donations of all sizes to the energy sector, including from individual Norwegian businesses.

‘Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are without electricity and water after Russia’s recent attacks on civilian infrastructure in several of the country's largest cities. These installations are repeatedly targeted by Russia. It is expensive to rebuild these installations, but it is essential to do so, particularly near the front line,’ said Mr Eide.

Since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, it has been a strategy to target Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. According to reports, almost 50 % of the country’s energy infrastructure has been completely or partially destroyed, with damage estimated at USD 12 billion. This was a key topic of discussion during today’s meeting between Mr Eide and Mr Kuleba.

Assistance to help safeguard Ukraine’s energy supply is a priority area in Norway’s support to Ukraine. In 2023, USD 1.9 billion of the Nansen Support Programme for Ukraine was spent on energy-related projects.

Together with Denmark and Poland, Norway is co-chairing Working Group 4 under the Ukrainian Peace Formula, proposed by President Zelensky, as part of the effort to coordinate energy-related support to Ukraine. 

Norway’s support to Ukraine is based on Ukraine's needs as these needs evolve. As early as March 2022, Ukraine sent the first requests for equipment needed to restore damaged infrastructure.

Together with 35 other countries, Norway donates supplies through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM). The scheme supplements the humanitarian aid being provided and serves primarily as a channel for in-kind assistance requested by the Ukrainian authorities. Norway has donated more than 5 000 tonnes of supplies, with high priority given to the energy and power sector. 

‘As long as the war continues, we will give priority to this type of material assistance and activities to repair damaged energy infrastructure. I am pleased that Norwegian companies are contributing widely to this cooperative effort,’ said Foreign Minister Eide.

REN, a non-profit organisation owned by Norwegian utility companies, and the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) are working together with the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to coordinate donations of materials that can be used to restore the power supply in Ukraine. Norwegian companies are providing electrical materials and power equipment on an almost weekly basis. 

In recent weeks, Russian attacks have escalated significantly. Norway is therefore increasing its assistance and will be providing additional electrical materials and power equipment as requested by the Ukrainian authorities. 

‘Since Russia's full-scale invasion, 52 different donors have donated materials for more than NOK 30 million to Ukraine. This includes more than 2 100 tonnes of equipment donated to the Ukrainian energy sector. 

The equipment Norway has donated so far will be used for emergency needs as well as for reconstruction. Donations include a wide variety of generators, from very large generators that can supply a large hospital, to small, portable generators. Other donated equipment includes transformer stations, cables, circuit breakers, fuses, insulators and transformers. Specialised vehicles are required to repair power lines, and donations have also included trucks and vehicles with cranes and safety equipment.

‘On behalf of the Government, I would like to thank all the Norwegian companies that have already contributed, or are considering contributing, to this important effort. Donations from Norwegian companies are making a difference. Repair and early reconstruction of critical infrastructure is crucial to enabling Ukraine to withstand Russian aggression and bolstering the Ukrainian people's will to resist,’ said Foreign Minister Eide.

The equipment being provided will be very useful in the future when the reconstruction of Ukraine can begin in earnest. Much of the donated equipment is used equipment that is scheduled for replacement. The used equipment still has good reuse value and is therefore a good supplement to new equipment, which has long delivery times. 

As of 10 April 2024, Norway ranks 6th in terms of the number of transformers delivered to Ukraine and 4th in terms of generator performance provided. 

‘We hope that donations will continue to increase. It is very important that the donated equipment is in good working condition and can be used quickly,’ said Mr Eide.