NATO allies of Ukraine have promised more arms and equipment to help restore power supplies to the country as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his forces were defending against attempted Russian advances in multiple regions.
Ukraine’s General Staff said on Wednesday November 30, its forces had repelled six Russian attacks in the past 24 hours in the eastern Donbas region, even as Russian artillery relentlessly shelled the right bank of the Dnipro River and Kherson city in the south.
On Tuesday, November 29, Ukrainians ran into bomb shelters after air-raid warning sirens, as Russian forces pounded Ukrainian targets in the Donbas with artillery, mortar and tank fire.
Zelenskiy said the Russian military was also attacking in Luhansk in the east and Kharkiv an area Ukraine recaptured in September.
“The situation at the front is difficult,” Zelenskiy said in his Tuesday night video address.
“Despite extremely large losses, the occupiers are still trying to advance” in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv. And “they are planning something in the south,” he said.
Foreign ministers from the NATO alliance, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, began a two-day meeting in Bucharest on Tuesday, seeking ways both to keep Ukrainians safe and warm and to sustain Kyiv’s military through this winter.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Russian President Vladimir Putin was “trying to use winter as a weapon of war” as Moscow’s forces lose ground on the battlefield.
Russia has launched huge attacks on Ukraine’s electricity transmission and heating infrastructure since October, in what Kyiv and its allies say is a deliberate campaign to harm civilians, a war crime.
Moscow says hurting civilians is not its aim but that their suffering will end only if Kyiv accepts its demands, which it has not spelled out. Although Kyiv says it shoots down most of the incoming missiles, the damage has been accumulating and the impact growing more severe with each strike.
There are no political talks to end the war. Moscow has annexed Ukrainian territory which it says it will never relinquish; Ukraine says it will fight until it recovers all occupied land.
“We need air defence, IRIS, Hawks, Patriots, and we need transformers (for our energy needs),” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on the sidelines of the NATO meeting, highlighting various Western air defence systems.
“In a nutshell: Patriots and transformers are what Ukraine needs the most.”
However, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warned NATO against providing Ukraine with Patriot missile defence systems and denounced the Atlantic alliance as a “criminal entity” for delivering arms to what he called “Ukrainian fanatics.”