Friday, January 27, 2023

Ukraine welcomes arms offers, no word on Patriot missiles

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Russia’s weeks-long assault on Ukraine’s power grid, saying as NATO scrambled on Wednesday to scrape up replacement electrical gear that Russia had turned its war machine to strikes aiming to “turn off the heat…so that civilians suffer.”
Blinken spoke at a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest, Romania devoted in part to coordinating aid to keep the lights — and furnaces — on in Ukraine, where Russian strikes have damaged an estimated third of that country’s electrical infrastructure.
“Because President (Vladimir) Putin is failing to defeat Ukraine militarily, he is now prosecuting war against civilians,” Blinken said. “And he’s doing that by trying to destroy Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, to turn off the light, to turn off the heat, to turn off the water so that civilians suffer.
“What is very clear to me … is that support remains strong, resolute, determined” on the behalf of NATO foreign ministers to continue supporting Ukraine as Russia’s invasion moves toward a February anniversary, Blinken said.
NATO estimates that Russian strikes have damaged one-third of Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure. It says the missiles appear to be particularly targeting vulnerable transmission networks, leaving Ukrainians dealing with darkness and cold. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has underscored that his country’s biggest needs now are electrical gear and more advanced air-defense systems than it has gotten from the US and other allies so far, to deal with the Russian missile strikes.
“In a nutshell, Patriots and (electricity) transformers is what Ukraine needs the most,” Kuleba declared on Tuesday. Kuleba said that Ukraine at the session had received “a number of commitments, new commitments, from various NATO members.

SourceAP
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