NATO ministers will this week consider how to bolster support for Ukraine as Russia moves to an expected offensive in the east of the country, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.
Speaking ahead of a meeting of foreign ministers from the western military alliance, Stoltenberg said while Russia is withdrawing some of its troops around the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, “Moscow is not giving up on its ambitions in Ukraine.”
“We are now seeing a significant movement of troops away from Kyiv – to regroup, rearm and resupply, and they are shifting their focus eastwards,” the secretary-general told reporters.
“In the coming weeks,” Stoltenberg said, “we expect another Russian push in eastern and southern Ukraine to try to take the entire Donbass and create a land bridge to occupied Crimea,” a part of Ukraine that Russia lost in 2014 has annexed .
“This is a crucial phase of the war,” he added.
NATO ministers, who are due to meet in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday, will discuss how best to support Kyiv at this stage. The discussion will include Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and partners from the non-NATO countries Finland, Sweden and Georgia. The EU and Asia-Pacific partners from Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea will also take part.
The meeting comes amid growing outrage over atrocities committed by the Russian military in Ukraine, with growing concern over attacks on civilians in areas under Moscow control.
Stoltenberg called the killing of civilians “an unbearable brutality not seen in Europe for many decades” and stressed that “targeting and killing civilians is a war crime”.
NATO allies, he said, “are committed to providing further support to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, air defense systems and other equipment.” Stoltenberg declined to give details, citing operational security, but said more of of the same equipment would be included.
“These relatively light weapons have a tremendous impact,” he said.
The Ukrainians were able to shoot down Russian planes, helicopters and drones “because of advanced air defense systems supplied by NATO allies,” Stoltenberg said. In addition to weapons, according to the Secretary General, Ukraine needs fuel, ammunition, helmets, protective equipment and medical supplies.
As Russia prepares for its next offensive, Stoltenberg implored allies to help Kyiv.
“The repositioning of Russian troops will take time, a few weeks,” he said. “But after that, we fear that we will see a major Russian offensive in Donbass.”
“In this window,” Stoltenberg added, “it is extremely important that NATO allies provide support.”
https://www.politico.eu/article/nato-ministers-to-plot-more-ukraine-support-as-russia-regroups/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication NATO ministers plan more support for Ukraine as Russia regroups - POLITICO