European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson.
European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson. Image Credit: REUTERS

Brussels: The EU on Wednesday completed linking up its electricity grid to Ukraine, making good on a promise to keep the lights on in the war-ravaged country under attack from Russia, officials said.

"In this area, Ukraine is now part of Europe," EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson said in a statement, adding that Moldova - which also has a Russia-backed breakaway region - was also connected to the grid.

"The EU will continue to support Ukraine in the energy sector, by ensuring the reverse flows of gas to the country and the delivery of energy supplies that are badly needed," she said.

EU energy ministers on February 28 announced they would hook up the grid of their 27-nation bloc with Ukraine after it disconnected from the Russian electricity network and suffered missile strikes and shelling to its infrastructure.

While the link-up risks blackouts and brownouts happening in parts of the EU, Brussels has presented the move as part of its solidarity with Ukraine, even as it rebuffs Kyiv's pleas for rapid EU membership.

"Ukraine, Moldova and Europe: shared values, shared power and solidarity," European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.

"I welcome the key step taken today to keep lights on and houses warm in these dark times by synchronising the electricity grids of Ukraine and Moldova with the EU's grid. We'll continue working to stabilise their power systems," she said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that, as of Wednesday, his country had become "a member of the EU's Energy Union" and thanked Simson and von der Leyen.