Olena Iakovchuk carries a heavy load working as director for Secondary School Number 3 in Chernihiv, Ukraine.
Temperatures inside the school can drop to 10 degrees Celsius. When a bombing occurs in the area, the students huddle in air raid shelters. Russia’s forces have attacked the city several times since the February 2022 full-scale invasion and are targeting civilian infrastructure such as heating, power and gas.
“Most days, we have electricity for three hours,” Iakovchuk said. “Heat supply interruptions also impact our classrooms.”
Iakovchuk’s school is one of several that received a generator from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The generator provides a backup power source for the school’s classrooms.
“This kind of USAID assistance to the school is extremely important,” she told USAID.
Countries rally to help
The United States and European allies continue to bolster Ukraine’s energy sector. The Biden-Harris administration is working with Congress on an additional $125 million in emergency support for Ukraine’s energy needs. This amount will be in addition to the $53.7 million in energy sector support Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in November 2022.
This assistance is helping to deliver critical grid equipment to Ukraine, including high-voltage autotransformers, which are critical to maintaining a functioning grid, as well as high-capacity mobile gas turbine power generators.
Since Russia’s full-scale 2022 invasion, the United States has provided $270 million in assistance to help repair, maintain and strengthen Ukraine’s power sector.
The U.S. government has already delivered:
- $13 billion in direct support to help maintain critical government services, such as paying salaries of first responders in Ukraine.
- $1.9 billion in humanitarian assistance to people in Ukraine and in neighboring countries.
- 1,600 generators, with more on the way.
More than 70 nations and organizations, including the European Union, have pledged 1 billion Euros to help Ukraine get through the winter.
The U.S. State Department also has been leading a coordination effort with Group of Seven (G7) and other key allies and partners to identify compatible equipment that can be provided quickly.
The G7 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Blinken and Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa in January co-hosted a meeting with G7 and key partners and reiterated their support, including for Ukraine’s long-term vision toward a modern energy grid fully integrated with the European system.
The current needs are vast. Russia’s attacks left an estimated 7 million children in Ukraine without access to water, electricity and heating, according to USAID.
Communities of all sizes get assistance
USAID sent supplies to large and small communities, including the Berizka kindergarten in Liudvynivka that received a wood-fired boiler house. The new boiler allowed 25 children and 13 staff members to attend school in a heated facility.
In Ternopil, USAID delivered supplies to provide heating and hot water to 112,000 people in three of the city’s districts, including a hospital.
A utility company, Kyiv Heating Networks, is working to repair damage caused by Russia’s attacks. Employees respond to an average of 40 damage cases per day.
The utility company recently restored heating and hot water for 22,000 city residents. The U.S. government provided $1.3 million worth of pipes and related equipment to the company.
“We understand this responsibility,” said Vasyl Derevytskyi, director of the utility. “We do this every day so that heat continues to be supplied to homes.”
USAID sent 32 generators to Vinnytsia, a city in west central Ukraine, and an excavator to assist with repairing damaged heating pipes.
“[Energy workers] feel that what we have faced so far only fortifies us and makes us stronger,” said Tetiana Balybiuk, deputy director general for investment for Vinnytsia City Heating Energy. “International support, in particular support from USAID, plays a significant role in this, and it helps meet the needs of the energy sector.”