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“We cannot let Putin win”: NATO strengthens defenses across Europe and promises to continue aiding Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke during a joint statement with Romanian President Johannes the day before the NATO alliance's foreign ministers' meeting in Bucharest. (28 November 2022)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke during a joint statement with Romanian President Johannes the day before the NATO alliance’s foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest. (28 November 2022)

NATO foreign ministers will convene a two-day meeting in Bucharest, Romania, starting Tuesday (November 29), to pledge continued support for Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion.

On Monday (28 November), NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg asked the alliance to increase its support for the region at a press conference after meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. “Investing in our defenses is critical as we face the biggest security crisis of a generation,” he said. He

said that in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, NATO is strengthening its presence from the Baltic region to the Black Sea region.

The NATO chief also said that new battle groups have been formed, one of which is on Romanian territory, dominated by France, while fighters from Canada are helping to “maintain our sky security” and American Patriot missiles are strengthening NATO‘s defenses. “We will take the necessary measures to protect the defenses of all our allies,” he added.

Stoltenberg also highlighted support for other partners who are also under pressure from Russia, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, and Moldova.

Romanian President Johannes said the decision reached at the Madrid summit to increase NATO troops and military equipment on the eastern side of the NATO alliance needs to come into force as soon as possible.

Stoltenberg reiterated NATO‘s commitment to ratifying the membership of Sweden and Finland. Admission of both countries into the alliance will expand the eastern side of NATO.

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Stoltenberg said Russia is weaponizing winter by attacking key power facilities in Ukraine and depriving civilians of electricity, heating, and water supply during the harsh winter.

“We can’t let Putin win,” Stoltenberg said. “This will show authoritarian leaders around the world that they can achieve their goals by using military power, which will make the world a more dangerous place for all of us.” Therefore, it is in our own security interests to support Ukraine.

“We need to be prepared for more attacks.” The NATO secretary general added. Because of this, NATO has increased its support for Ukraine, providing more air defense systems, such as defense … UAVs and cruise and ballistic missiles.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the foreign ministers of the Nordic and Baltic countries to Kiev. These foreign ministers are from Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu told Reuters in an interview: “The strongest message from this visit is that Ukraine needs to win this war, so,…… Western support should be stronger; More heavy weapons without political restrictions, including long-range missiles. ”

The Russian missile attack caused widespread blackouts in Ukraine, which said on Monday was forced to implement regular emergency blackouts

in some areas across the country, after Ukraine experienced setbacks in rushing to repair energy infrastructure hit by Russian missiles.

Ukrenergo, the nation’s grid operator, said in a statement that several power stations had been forced to shut down their power plants and demand had been increasing as the capital and elsewhere entered a harsh winter.

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“Once the reasons for the emergency shutdown are eliminated, the equipment will resume operation, which will reduce the shortage of the power system and reduce restrictions on consumers,” the statement said. ”

DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private power producer, said it would reduce the supply of electricity to consumers in Kiev by 60 percent. Temperatures in Kiev hovered around zero degrees Celsius.

DTEK Kiev said on Facebook: “We are doing everything possible to provide every consumer with electricity twice a day for two to three hours.” ”

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Sunday that the coming weeks could be difficult because of the widespread damage caused by Russian missile strikes over the past week.

“We understand that terrorists are planning new attacks. We know this is true,” Zelensky said. “Unfortunately, as long as they have missiles, they will not calm down.”

Russian airstrikes have repeatedly hit critical infrastructure targets in Ukraine, interrupting vital services as winter approaches. Russian officials deny that the attacks targeted civilians.

The United States will continue to support Ukraine

in the United States, where Republicans are about to take control of the House of Representatives in January. Republicans, who will hold the committee’s leadership position, promised Saturday that Congress would continue to support Ukraine militarily as it resisted Russia, but said Congress would conduct more scrutiny before aid was sent to the army.

Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas and Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio told ABC’s “This Week” that Republicans and Democrats will continue to support Ukraine after Republicans take control of the House by a narrow majority, though some have expressed opposition from both parties.

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Turner, who is likely to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said: “We will continue to make sure they get what they need.” We will have bipartisan support.

McCaul, who is likely to become chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, said: “If we give them what they need, they will win.”

But McCall said that when it comes to considering aid to Ukraine, Republicans will take over the House of Representatives differently from the Democrat-controlled House.

“The truth is, we will provide more oversight, transparency, and accountability,” he said. “We don’t write a blank check.”

(This article draws on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters, and AFP.)

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