BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe's biggest cities will donate power generators and transformers to help Ukrainians get through the harsh winter ahead, as part of a drive launched on Wednesday.
Since October, Russia has been targeting Ukraine's civil power and heating systems with long-range missiles and drones. Moscow says the aim is to reduce Kyiv's ability to fight and push it to negotiate.
"Ten million Ukrainians are currently without electricity as a result of Russia's attacks on critical civilian infrastructure," European Parliament President Roberta Metsola told a news conference on the "Generators of Hope" campaign.
"The European Parliament and the EU have shown remarkable solidarity with Ukraine on the humanitarian, military and financial front. Now they need practical support to get through the winter."
The European Union's assembly launched the campaign with Eurocities, a network of more than 200 cities in 38 countries.
The cities will be urged to provide generators to keep energy running at essential facilities in war-buffeted Ukraine, including hospitals, schools, water supply facilities, relief centres, shelters, and mobile phone masts.
"We must act immediately," said Dario Nardella, president of Eurocities and mayor of Florence. "Winter is upon us, there is no electricity and gas, there is no time to waste."
Asked to estimate the number of generators that would be donated, he said it could potentially run to several hundred, including industrial-sized generators.
(Reporting by John Chalmers; Editing by Alex Richardson)