Blinken: NATO will continue to support Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sees no signs of fatigue among NATO countries in supporting Ukraine against Russia’s war of aggression. “We need to support Ukraine and we will continue to do so,” Blinken said at the end of the meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday. This position was represented by each of the alliance’s 31 member states. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had previously called for more military support from NATO.

Kuleba called on allies at NATO headquarters in Brussels to increase their weapons production in order to supply ammunition and other weapons to Ukraine. The European Union has so far delivered nearly 300,000 of the originally promised one million artillery shells to Ukraine. “We must continue to fight, Ukraine will not surrender,” Kuleba said. “This is not only about the security of Ukraine, but also the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic region.”

In the background of his statements, there are probably fears that the USA, in particular, may reduce its aid to Kiev. Kuleba also denied allegations of a “standstill” on the Eastern Front. The aim is still “territorial integrity within the internationally recognized borders of 1991”, that is, the reconquest of the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia and the occupied territories in the east.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also warned that interest in the war in Ukraine is decreasing and called for increased international efforts to create a winter protection umbrella. Baerbock said that before the talks, Russia was attacking infrastructure specifically in Ukraine to cut off people’s electricity and hot water supplies, as it did a year ago. “And once again I call on the world to do everything we can to put together this winter umbrella of protection for Ukraine.” Germany has already provided generators and Patriot anti-aircraft systems.

Baerbock said on the sidelines of the meeting that Ukraine’s future lies in the European Union and NATO. The aim of the NATO-Ukraine Council is to accompany the country on its path to becoming a defense alliance and at the same time to create a “real impetus for the security of Ukraine”. Concretely, this also means addressing together the necessary reforms and standard regulations for the Ukrainian armed forces. Germany is providing another 11.5 million euros for the NATO funding pot.

Blinken emphasized that he assumes the US Congress will approve more aid to the war-torn country in the next few weeks.

According to NATO estimates, the number of Russian soldiers killed or injured in Ukraine exceeded 300 thousand. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement after his meeting with Kuleba: “From a military perspective, Russia has lost a significant part of its conventional forces.” said. This included hundreds of aircraft and thousands of tanks.

Stoltenberg also warned against pinning high hopes on casualties that would lead to a quick end to the war in Ukraine. The Norwegian said Russian President Vladimir Putin has a high threshold of tolerance towards victims. Russia’s goals in Ukraine have not changed. Stoltenberg did not say how many of NATO’s estimated Russian victims died. No information was given about the losses on the Ukrainian side.

“Most importantly, Ukraine has asserted itself as a sovereign and independent nation,” Stoltenberg said. “This is a significant achievement, a great victory.” Russia is becoming increasingly dependent on China. “Moscow is promising its future to Beijing,” he said. While Ukraine has made progress, Russia has fallen behind and is now “weaker politically, militarily and economically.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström discussed his country’s desired NATO membership. According to Billström, Turkey wants to complete Sweden’s NATO membership “within a few weeks”. Billström said that he met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan at the NATO foreign ministers meeting on Wednesday and that he gave him such a time perspective. “He told me that yesterday.” However, Fidan did not give an exact date.

On Tuesday, Turkey also blocked Sweden’s participation in the originally planned defense alliance. The Scandinavian country applied for membership in NATO in May 2022, under the influence of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, and at the time was still hoping to join in the summer of 2022. However, Turkey later accused Swedish politicians of not taking measures against “terrorist organizations” such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Following the concessions made by Sweden, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently announced that he would allow the law to be approved by the Turkish parliament. But now he’s stuck in a committee.

(APA/dpa/Reuters/AFP)

Source: Vienna

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