Grant Shapps travelled to the capital to meet senior government ministers and leading energy industry figures to discuss Ukraine’s recovery and ongoing UK support following the illegal full-scale invasion by Putin’s Russia.
His visit comes just two months after the UK hosted the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London, where international commitments for Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction topped $60 billion. The UK government also agreed a Memorandum of Understanding committing support to Ukraine’s energy sector and green energy future.
During the visit on Tuesday, Shapps visited a power station, a critical part of Ukraine’s national infrastructure, that has been badly damaged by Russian bombing and is now undergoing repairs.
The Energy Security Secretary was later shown around a kindergarten attended by Nikita, the young son of the family he took in under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which was also damaged by Russian shelling. The children performed a song before Mr Shapps played them a recorded message from Nikita.
The visit came as the UK announced its intention to provide a £192 million loan guarantee through UK Export Finance (UKEF) – the UK’s export credit agency – enabling UK-headquartered Urenco to supply Ukraine’s national nuclear company, Energoatom, with uranium enrichment services, a vital part of nuclear fuel, which will help power Ukraine.
Once provided, the support will bring the total of the UK’s non-military assistance to Ukraine to nearly £5 billion.
Nuclear power generates over half of Ukraine’s electricity and the UKEF support announced today is a move towards continuing to supply much-needed power as Ukraine defends itself and recovers from Russian aggression. The support will strengthen Ukraine’s energy security and further isolate Putin by helping the country maintain its independence from Russian nuclear fuel.
Urenco, renowned for nuclear enrichment services, has been a supplier to Energoatom and Ukraine since 2009. The support announced today will enable the further supply of services, with a significant portion of the deliveries coming from the UK – supporting specialist manufacturing jobs in the North West and Wales and the Prime Minister’s priority of growing the economy.
”Our support for Ukraine is unwavering in the face of Putin’s barbaric invasion – the UK continues to stand with Ukraine as they repel Russian attacks and rebuild their country.
“Being here on the ground, it’s truly remarkable witnessing first-hand the sheer courage, resolve and gritty determination of the Ukrainian people.
“Putin has used energy as a weapon of war: the action today to support nuclear fuel deliveries will help Ukraine end their reliance on Russian supplies and bolster their energy security” – Energy Security Secretary Grant Shapps.
During the visit, the Energy Security Secretary met Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov and Minister for Energy German Galushchenko to discuss the UK’s support for Ukraine recovery.
Shapps’s visit also comes just days before Ukraine celebrates its Independence Day, celebrating its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
In Kyiv, he met Energoatom’s President Petro Kotin to to discuss Urenco’s vital role in supplying nuclear fuel to Ukraine. He also met other Ukrainian energy company leaders to discuss their critical efforts in keeping the lights on for the Ukrainian people and in the recovery.
The news follows the G7 Energy Ministers’ meeting Sapporo Japan, at which the UK, US, Canada, Japan and France agreed a new nuclear fuel alliance to leverage their respective resources and capabilities of each country’s civil nuclear power sectors to undermine Russia’s grip on supply chains and displace Putin from the international nuclear energy market.
Urenco is the only uranium enrichment company in the UK and is a key part of the government’s plans to rapidly expand nuclear power to provide up to a quarter of all the country’s electricity by 2050, through supporting a resilient nuclear fuel supply chain for the UK and its key international partners.
UKEF support will be provided through a back-stop/guarantee with funds released by partner banks once financial terms are agreed.