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NATO chief Stoltenberg vows Ukraine support will not wane

Update : 29 Nov 2022, 18:15

NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Bucharest to discuss more aid for Ukraine over the winter. NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would not back down in its support for Kyiv.

Foreign ministers from across NATO gathered in Bucharest on Tuesday to discuss future support for Ukraine and the strengthening of the eastern flank of the alliance.

In an opening address, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO must not waiver in its commitment to Ukraine.

"NATO will continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes. We will not back down," Stoltenberg said.

"The main focus is supporting Ukraine and ensuring President [Vladimir Putin] doesn't win," he said, adding that Ukraine could only gain acceptable terms if it were to advance on the battlefield.

Speaking later to journalists, Stoltenberg said the meeting would be "very substantive," covering NATO's resilience on its eastern frontiers as well as support for Ukraine.

Ministers are expected to discuss a particularly urgent need for help with power provision after more Russian attacks on the country's energy infrastructure. NATO allies had already delivered generators and spare parts to help Ukraine rebuild damaged facilities, Stoltenberg said, with more help on its way. 

Ahead of the meeting, the NATO chief also said he was hoping to see members "to further step" up the provision of more air defense equipment, ammunition, and spare parts training to Ukraine. Stoltenberg also said he expected pledges from member nations to provide more training and non-lethal supplies such as warm clothing, medicines, and drone-jamming systems.

Romania is hosting the two-day event at the capital city of Bucharest's Palace of the Parliament. It is at that same venue where, in April 2008, then-US President George W. Bush persuaded his allies to open NATO's door to Ukraine and Georgia, despite strong objections from Moscow.

It is expected that members will reaffirm that commitment in their latest meeting.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier warned Ukrainians of a long, hard winter, saying that the Russians would attack "as long as they have missiles."

A working dinner between the NATO chief and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was planned for Tuesday evening.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is to lead a meeting of the seven major industrialized nations (G7) with up to 20 partner countries on the sidelines of the NATO meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The focus is on the reconstruction of the Ukrainian power grid. Poland has recently called on Germany to supply the Patriot air defense system  offered to Kyiv to help protect Ukraine from further Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure.

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