NATO foreign ministers are to meet for two days in the Romanian capital Bucharest, starting on Tuesday, to pledge their continued support to Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
At a press conference on Monday, after a meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg asked the alliance to increase its support in the region.
“Investing in our defense is important as we face our biggest security crisis in a generation,” he said.
In response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, he said, NATO is increasing its presence from the Baltics to the Black Sea region.
The head of the alliance also said new battle groups have been established, including one led by France in Romania, while fighter jets from Canada help “keep our skies safe” and US Patriot missiles bolster Nato’s defences. “We will do what is necessary to protect the defenses of all our allies,” he added.
Stoltenberg also highlighted the support of other partners facing Russian pressure, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova.
Latest developments in Ukraine: 28 November
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said the decision taken at the Madrid summit to strengthen NATO troops and military equipment on the alliance’s eastern flank must take effect as soon as possible.
Stoltenberg reiterated NATO’s commitment to approve membership for Sweden and Finland, which would expand NATO’s eastern flank.
Stoltenberg said Russia is weaponizing the winter by striking Ukraine’s critical power infrastructure, leaving civilians without power, heat or water in freezing temperatures.
“We cannot let Putin win,” Stoltenberg said. “This would show authoritarian leaders around the world that they can achieve their goals by using military force – and make the world a more dangerous place for all of us. So it is in our own security interests to support Ukraine.
“We must be prepared for more attacks” added the NATO chief. “That is why NATO has increased its support to Ukraine with additional air defense systems, such as … drones as well as cruise and ballistic missiles.”
Elderly residents are evacuated from the southern city of Kherson, Ukraine, on November 27, 2022.
At the same time, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed his Nordic and Baltic counterparts from Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden in Kyiv.
“The strongest message from this visit is: Ukraine needs to win this war and therefore… Western support should be stronger; more heavy weapons without any political reservations, including long-range missiles,” Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told Reuters.
Reinsalu promised to provide electricity generators, warm clothes and food to help Ukrainians survive the winter.
The seven Baltic and Nordic countries were the largest delegation to visit Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Russian troops were preparing new attacks and met with senior government officials to discuss what steps to take.
A man clears debris from the destroyed house after the latest Russian airstrike in Chasiv Yar, Ukraine, November 27, 2022.
Ukraine said on Monday it had been forced to impose regular emergency shutdowns in areas across the country after a setback in its race to repair energy infrastructure hit by Russian missile strikes.
Power units at several power stations had to make emergency shutdowns and demand for electricity has increased as snowy winter weather grips the capital and elsewhere, national grid operator Ukrenergo said in a statement.
“Once the causes of the emergency stop are eliminated, the units will return to operation, which will reduce the deficit in the power system and reduce the amount of restrictions for consumers,” it said.
DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private power producer, said it would cut electricity supplies by 60% to its consumers in Kyiv, where temperatures hover around zero degrees Celsius (32F).
“We are doing everything we can to provide power to each customer for 2-3 hours twice a day,” DTEK’s Kyiv office wrote on Facebook.
In his video address on Monday, Zelenskyy said Russia had shelled Kherson and other communities in the region. In one week, Zelenskyy said, “Russia fired 258 times at 30 settlements in our Kherson region.”
He also said Russian forces damaged the pumping station supplying water to Mykolaiv.
Zelenskyy said the only thing Russian forces are capable of is wreaking havoc on civilians and civilian infrastructure.
“That’s all they leave behind,” he said. Russians “take revenge for the fact that Ukrainians defended themselves from them.”
Some material for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.