Germany’s Foreign Minister has voiced strong support for redoubling military aid to Ukraine, calling on allies to create a winter shield over Ukraine so as to protect it from Russian attacks.
Speaking reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels, Annalena Baerbock said, “Russia again is aiming at civil infrastructure”, so it is necessary to “work to ensure that the winter protective shield of Ukraine is strong.”
Russian strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure last winter left millions in the cold and dark for extended periods.
Also, NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg stated that Russia had amassed a large missile stockpile ahead of winter and was making new attempts to strike Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, “trying to leave Ukraine in the dark and cold.”
Speaking at the meeting of NATO’s Foreign Ministers in Brussels, Stoltenberg said that the war had diminished Russia’s influence in its near abroad, made it more dependent on China, and cost it a substantial portion of its conventional forces.
“All of this underlines Putin’s strategic mistake in invading Ukraine,” he said.
Nonetheless, Stoltenberg added, “At the same time, we must not underestimate Russia.”
“Russia’s economy is on a war footing, Putin has a high tolerance for casualties, and Russian aims in Ukraine have not changed,” he averred.
“It is important that our solidarity with Ukraine is not only demonstrated in words but also in deeds. These are concrete actions, we need more of them and we need sustained and stepped-up support.”Jens Stoltenberg
One of the issues at the top of the NATO Foreign Ministers’ agenda for Wednesday’s meeting was fine-tuning the way ahead for Ukraine to become a NATO member.
Besides Ukraine’s prospective membership, allies discussed how to further support Kyiv in its war with Russia.
“We remain unwavering in our commitment to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.
He added, “We are determined that Ukraine will one day sit at this table as a full member of our alliance.”
Kuleba Asserts Ukraine’s Perseverance To Defend Itself
Also on Wednesday, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pledged that Ukraine will forge ahead in the battle against Russia’s invasion.
“We have to continue, we have to keep fighting. Ukraine is not going to back down,” Kuleba said.
He added that the issue “here is not just Ukraine’s security, it is the security and safety of the entire Euro-Atlantic space.”
Ukraine’s armed forces have become the strongest in Europe and now function as a “de facto NATO army,” Kuleba said in Brussels, where discussions about NATO alliance membership for Ukraine were on the table.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister said that the rest of Europe is now dependent to some degree on Ukraine for its own security.
“Defending Europe without Ukraine is a futile task; you cannot do it for one simple reason — we have the strongest, most battle-hardened army in Europe,” Kuleba said.
Kuleba’s comments came amid fears that Western fatigue is setting in over the prolonged war between Russia and Ukraine, and that attention and funding is shifting to the Middle East.
The United States, Ukraine’s biggest single-country donor, has sent more than $40bn in aid since Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
However, about $61bn in additional aid to Ukraine is being held up by the US Congress.
Another $50bn package from the European Union is struggling to pass because of opposition from Hungary, leaving Ukraine concerned about dwindling resources as it heads into the harsh winter.
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