Russian President Vladimir Putin is “weaponizing winter” as Moscow continues its bombing campaign on Ukrainian energy infrastructure, NATO’s secretary general says.
With winter settling in, Jens Stoltenberg told reporters on Tuesday that it is critical for the military alliance to support Ukraine and help rebuild its energy infrastructure as a wave of Russian attacks have repeatedly knocked out power supplies and heating for millions of Ukrainians.
“It is extremely important that President Putin is not able to win in Ukraine. That will be a tragedy for Ukraine, but it will also make the world more dangerous and also more vulnerable. It’s in the security interests of allies to support Ukraine,” he said following a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania.
“We are all shocked by the indiscriminate attacks on Ukrainian cities, on Ukrainian infrastructure. We see that President Putin is trying to deprive Ukrainians of water, electricity, heating, lights. President Putin is using winter as a weapon. He is weaponizing winter, and that is just making it more important to support Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s power grid facing increasing pressure as winter looms
The two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest is likely to see the 30-nation alliance make fresh pledges of non-lethal support to Ukraine: fuel, generators, medical supplies and winter equipment, on top of new military support.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, NATO foreign ministers said in a joint statement they will be there to help Ukraine rebuild its infrastructure.
“We will continue and further step up political and practical support to Ukraine as it continues to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity … and will maintain our support for as long as necessary,” it said.
On Nov. 16, Canada announced it was sending winter gear to Ukrainian troops, including portable heaters, thermal blankets and sleeping bags.
More to come.
— with files from The Associated Press and Reuters
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