NATO member states announced Tuesday that new aid will be granted to Ukraine to help restore the country’s energy grid, after Russian air and missile strikes have crippled Ukrainian energy infrastructure. NATO members finished two days of talks in the Romanian capital of Bucharest, aiming to provide, “military, humanitarian, financial support to Ukraine,” according to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Russia’s New Strategy
With set backs in areas like Kherson, the Russian Army pulled back its ground forces from the western side of Ukraine in October, and has instead elected to target and decimate energy, heating, and water infrastructure in an attempt to weaponize the cold of Ukraine’s winter against them.
“Russia is actually failing on the battlefield. In response to that they are now attacking civilian targets, cities because they’re not able to win territory,” said Stoltenberg.
Russia’s focused attacks on civilian infrastructure could qualify as war crimes. At a meeting of the G7 in Berlin Tuesday, the attending members agreed to coordinate a future investigation into potential war crimes by Russia; not just their strikes on the Ukrainian power grid, but also reports of alleged orders of sexual assault against Ukrainian women given by Russian commanders.
“Judicial examination of the atrocities committed in Ukraine will take years, perhaps even decades. But we will be well prepared – and we will persist for as long as it takes,” said Germany’s Justice Minister, Marco Buschmann.
Help Is Coming to Ukraine
At the Bucharest meeting, the U.S. committed to providing $53 million for helping Ukraine fix their power grid. NATO members also pledged to provide generators, fuel, blankets and medical supplies to Ukraine’s civilian population.
My message to fellow foreign ministers at today’s NATO meeting is simple: Keep calm and give tanks. pic.twitter.com/Z7rynLp4tB
— Gabrielius Landsbergis🇱🇹 (@GLandsbergis) November 29, 2022
Ukraine continues to ask for military aid, specifically in the form of missile defense systems and armored tanks. NATO has been less willing to make such commitments, for fear that they could trigger direct conflict with the Russians. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis was pushing for tanks to be delivered, sighting that there is no shortage of available heavy weaponry.
Wartime Arms Production
The production of weaponry by the Eastern European arms industry is now at levels not seen since the height of the Cold War. Countries of the former Warsaw Pact see Russia’s defeat in Ukraine as a matter of national security, and thus have been depleting their own weapons reserves to give Ukraine as much firepower as possible.
This has caused many of those countries, including Poland and the Czech Republic, to purchase massive amounts of new weaponry. Poland’s state-owned Polish Armaments Group (PGZ), controls 50 weapons and ammo manufacturers. They say that they will be investing $1.8 billion over the next 10 years, which is more than double what their plans had been pre-Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.
Czech exports of military arms is the highest its been since 1989, sending over $2.1 billion worth of weapons and equipment to Ukraine in the past year.
“For the Czech defense industry, the conflict in Ukraine, and the assistance it provides is clearly a boost that we have not seen in the last 30 years,” says the Czech Republic’s Deputy Defense Minister Tomas Kopecny. “The majority of the Czech population still remember times of a Russian occupation of our country before 1990 and we don´t want to have Russian troops closer to our borders.”
With sub-zero temperatures quickly approaching for the Ukrainian population, they will need all of the support they can find, not just to restore power and water to their civilian population, but to stave off the country-wide strikes and attacks coming from Russia’s military.
Written by Seth Herlinger
AP News: NATO renews membership vow to Ukraine, pledges arms and aid
AP News: Uneasy calm grips Ukraine as West prepares winter aid
BBC News: Ukraine war: Nato pledges to provide more weapons and fix power grid
Reuters: NATO boosts Ukraine aid, accuses Putin of using cold as ‘weapon of war’
Reuters: Weapons industry booms as Eastern Europe arms Ukraine
Yahoo News: G7 justice ministers agree to coordinate Ukraine war crime probes
Top and featured image by Ivan Sedlovskyi, Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
First inset image courtesy manhai‘s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Second inset image by OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
NATO Scrambles to Aid Ukraine As Winter Arrives added by Seth Herlinger on November 30, 2022
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