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Kyiv: NATO allies pledged on Tuesday more weapons and equipment for Kyiv to help restore Ukraine’s power and turn off the heat from Russian missile and drone strikes, as airstrikes across Ukraine began for the first time this week. The sirens started sounding.
Ukrainians fled through the streets to bomb shelters, although later everything became clear throughout the country. Russian forces targeted Ukrainian positions in the eastern Donetsk region with artillery, mortars and tanks.
Foreign ministers from the NATO alliance, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, began a two-day meeting in Bucharest seeking ways to keep Ukrainians safe and warm and keep Kyiv’s forces afloat through the coming winter campaign.
“We need air defense, IRIS, Hawks, Patriots, and we need transformers (for our energy needs),” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on the sidelines of a NATO meeting, enumerating various Western air defense systems. needed.”
“In short: patriots and transformers are what Ukraine needs most.”
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned NATO against providing patriots to Ukraine and denounced the Atlantic alliance as a “criminal entity” for arming “Ukrainian radicals”.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “trying to use winter as a weapon of war” as Moscow’s forces were defeated on the battlefield.
In a statement, NATO ministers condemned Russia’s “relentless and unconscionable attacks on Ukrainian civilian and energy infrastructure” and reaffirmed a 2008 decision that Ukraine would eventually join the alliance. But it has not announced any concrete steps or timetable that would bring it closer to NATO.
US and European officials said the ministers would focus in their talks on non-lethal aid such as fuel, medical supplies and winter equipment, as well as military aid. Washington said it would provide $53 million to buy Power Grid equipment.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis urged his NATO allies to make a political decision to send advanced battle tanks to Ukraine to give them a military edge against Russian forces. Western powers are reluctant to go down that path for fear of direct conflict with Russia.
accumulated damage
Russia has been carrying out major attacks on Ukraine’s electricity transmission and heating infrastructure roughly weekly since October, which Kyiv and its allies say is a deliberate campaign to harm civilians, a war crime .
Moscow says it does not intend to hurt civilians, but their suffering will only end if Kyiv accepts its demands, which it has not clarified. Although Kyiv says it shoots down most incoming missiles, the damage continues to mount and the effects more severe with each attack.
A senior US military official said on Tuesday that Russia was firing unarmed cruise missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads at targets in Ukraine in an attempt to whittle down Kyiv’s air defense stockpile.
The deadliest attack to date took place on 23 November, plunging millions of Ukrainians into the cold and darkness. President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this week told Ukrainians to expect another one soon that would be the least damaging.
There is no political dialogue to end the war. Moscow has annexed Ukrainian territory, which it says it will never give up; Ukraine says it will fight until it takes back all the occupied land.
Kyiv said it wanted the weapons to help it end the war – by winning it.
“No eloquent speech will say more than concrete action. ‘Patriot’, ‘F-16’ or ‘Leopard’ for Ukraine.
‘The risks are rising’
Russia this week canceled nuclear talks with the US at the last minute. Moscow said it had no choice but to cancel talks aimed at resuming inspections under an arms control treaty after Washington refused to address its wider concerns about strategic stability.
Russian news agencies quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as warning Washington of unspecified risks as Russia backs Kyiv against a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbor.
“We are sending a signal to the Americans that their line of escalation and deep involvement in this conflict is fraught with serious consequences. The risks are growing,” Rybakov said.
In Kyiv, snow was falling and temperatures were hovering around freezing as millions of people in and around the capital struggled to heat their homes. After a week of efforts to restore power from the previous attacks, national grid operator Ukrainergo said the system was still 30 percent short of needed electricity.
Ukraine’s military general staff said Tuesday evening that Russian forces in the Donetsk region were continuing to focus on the towns of Bakhmut and Avdeevka. Russian missile attack on Liman kills one person and injures three others.
The General Staff said Ukrainian aircraft carried out nine strikes targeting Russian troops and equipment, particularly in the south-central Zaporizhzhya region.
In the southern Kherson and Krivy Rih regions, Russian forces are strengthening their defenses and continuing artillery strikes, including on the city of Kherson, which Ukraine recently captured.
Reuters could not independently verify reports from the battlefield.
Kherson’s regional governor, Yaroslav Yanushevich, said power had been restored to 50 percent of Kherson city after heavy Russian shelling.
Both sides would have to keep supplies and healthy troops in cold, wet trenches for the first long winter of the war, a major challenge for the Russians as an invading force with longer and more vulnerable supply lines.