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NATO vows ‘to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (C) presides over a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania, on November 29, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

NATO has promised to “stand for Ukraine” as long as necessary, saying Russia is using winter as a weapon of war by hitting energy infrastructure in Ukraine.

“NATO will continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes. We will not back down,” NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg said in a speech at the start of a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, on Tuesday.

The meeting of the ministers is focused on ramping up military assistance for Ukraine, such as with air-defense systems and ammunition. Stoltenberg promised a wide range of measures to support Kiev.

He said that NATO foreign ministers would meet with their Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, to discuss his country’s most urgent needs.

The Ukrainian diplomat said NATO foreign ministers would discuss the provision of new weapons, ammunition, and military equipment for Kiev during the meeting. He also warned at the beginning of the meeting that the military alliance urgently needed to boost weapons production.

Russia using winter as weapon of war: Stoltenberg

In his remarks, the NATO chief also accused Russia of using winter as a weapon of war against Ukraine.

He said that “the message from all of us will be that we need to do more” to help Kiev fix its gas and electricity infrastructure and provide air defense to help it protect itself better.

“Russia is actually failing on the battlefield. In response to that, they are now attacking civilian targets, cities, because they’re not able to win territory,” Stoltenberg said.

Ukraine says Russia is targeting civilian infrastructure in the course of the war. Moscow has denied doing so.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned of more Russian attacks this week, saying that they could be as bad as last week’s, which left millions of people with no heat, water, or power.

Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the offensive, which he called “a special military operation,” was meant to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

President Zelensky has said any negotiations toward peace should end in the restoration of Ukrainian borders.

Russia annexed four Ukrainian regions recently. And Russian officials have said they will not negotiate over such territory. They have also warned against supplying Ukraine with weapons, saying the move would prolong the war.

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