EU to provide more help to maintain power, heating in Ukraine

EU Commission President von der Leyen speaks at European Parliament in Strasbourg

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will step up efforts to provide Ukraine with support to restore and maintain power and heating, the head of the European Commission said on Friday, after a new wave of Russian missile attacks on critical Ukrainian infrastructure.

Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement after a phone call with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy the EU executive arm was preparing the delivery to Ukraine large donations from EU countries and from the Commission's reserves.

Millions of Ukrainians were still without heat or power on Friday after the most devastating Russian air strikes on its energy grid so far, with residents warned to brace for further attacks and stock up on water, food and warm clothing.

Von der Leyen said the EU would provide 200 medium-sized transformers and a large autotransformer from Lithuania, a medium-sized autotransformer from Latvia and 40 heavy generators from the EU reserve in Romania.

"Each of these generators can provide uninterrupted power to a small to medium-sized hospital," she said.

"The European Commission is additionally working on a new energy hub in Poland to allow donations from third parties and help with their delivery to Ukraine in a coordinated fashion, particularly with our G7 partners," she said.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, Editing by Louise Heavens)