Ukraine urged Nato members on Tuesday to speed up weapons deliveries and help restore its shattered power grid, as Western allies vowed to bolster support to aid Kyiv through winter in the face of Russia’s attacks.
Moscow has unleashed waves of strikes against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, as its troops are pushed back on the ground, plunging millions of people into darkness.
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for supplies of weapons, especially advanced air defence systems, to come “faster, faster, faster”, as he joined a two-day meeting of Nato foreign ministers in the Romanian capital Bucharest.
“When we have transformers and generators, we can restore our system, our energy grid, and provide people with decent living conditions,” Mr Kuleba said. “When we have air defence systems, we will be able to protect this infrastructure from the next Russian missile strikes.”
“In a nutshell, Patriots and transformers is what Ukraine needs the most”, he said, referring to the US-made Patriot missile defence system.
The appeal came as Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of targeting infrastructure in a bid to use the winter as “a weapon of war” against Ukraine.
Mr Stoltenberg said Nato allies have pledged more support for Ukraine to fix its infrastructure and would keep on sending arms and air defences to help it better protect itself.
He said there was an “ongoing discussion” on supplying the Patriot systems that Washington and others have so far refused to give to Kyiv.
“Nato is not a party to the war. But we will continue to support Ukraine. For as long as it takes, we will not back down,” Mr Stoltenberg said.
He said he expects Russia to carry out more attacks on Ukraine’s grid as Russian forces suffer defeats on the ground and warned Europe should “be prepared for more refugees”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced a package worth US$53 million (S$73 million) “to support acquisition of critical electricity grid equipment” by Kyiv.
A senior US official said the assistance would not be the last and pointed out that the Biden administration has budgeted US$1.1 billion for energy spending in Ukraine and neighbouring Moldova.
Source: The Straits Times
BDST: 1240 HRS, NOV 30, 2022