NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday warned that Russia is using "winter as a weapon of war" as Western nations like the U.S. ready themselves increase energy aid to Ukraine.
"What we have seen since President Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine is that President Putin is failing in Ukraine," Stoltenberg told reporters from Bucharest, Romania. "He is responding with more brutality, attacking gas infrastructure, power lines, and trying to deprive the Ukrainians of water, electricity, lights and heating."
"Therefore, we need to support Ukraine because what we see is that President Putin is trying to use winter as a weapon of war," he added.
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The U.S. on Tuesday announced another round of aid to Ukraine, though this time it will be solely directed towards repairing Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure as Russia continues to bombard the war-torn nation with aerial attacks.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday said the U.S. would provide $53 million to support the acquisition of "critical electricity grid equipment."
"This equipment will be rapidly delivered to Ukraine on an emergency basis to help Ukrainians persevere through the winter," the department said in a statement. "This supply package will include distribution transformers, circuit breakers, surge arresters, disconnectors, vehicles and other key equipment."
The package will be used to help restore emergency power and heat various municipalities across Ukraine that have been impacted by Russia’s attacks.
The U.S. has provided nearly $32 billion to Ukraine since Russia invaded over nine months ago, including $145 million to help Ukraine’s power sector.
NATO leaders met Tuesday with Ukrainian Minster of Foreign Affairs Dymtro Kuleba to address Kyiv’s immediate needs when it comes to keeping Ukraine warm as the winter months close in.
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"The Ukrainians are able to shoot down many of the incoming missiles and drones, but not all of them," Stoltenberg told reporters. "I think we all have seen these pictures taken from satellites, where you see Europe in light, and then you see Ukraine dark, and that reflects the enormous consequences."
Stoltenberg said NATO officials would also be discussing how to expand air defense aid to Ukraine to better stop all Russian aerial attacks, including getting spare parts to the front lines to ensure the weaponry Kyiv has is usable.
Despite Ukrainian advances on the front lines and diminishing Russian ammunitions stocks, Stoltenberg warned that Moscow will keep hitting Ukraine.
"We can expect more attacks. I think no one can say exactly how many, but President Putin and Russia has demonstrated a willingness to inflict suffering and to a level of brutality that we haven't seen in Europe since the Second World War," he told reporters, warning that Russia will keep looking to partners like Iran for aerial support.