By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Ukraine on Tuesday urged its Western partners to boost its air defence system capabilities and supply transformers to fend off Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure.
“We need air defence, IRIS, Hawks, Patriots, and we need transformers,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Bucharest.
“If we have transformers and generators, we can restore our energy needs. If we have air defence systems, we can protect from the next Russian missile strikes. In a nutshell: Patriots and transformers is what Ukraine needs the most.”
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance expects more missile attacks on civilian targets in Ukraine in response to Moscow’s military setbacks.
Russia is “now attacking civilian targets, cities, because they’re not able to win territory and to avoid Ukraine solely liberating more and more territory,” Stoltenberg said as NATO foreign ministers gathered in the Romanian capital to discuss future support for Ukraine and the strengthening of the eastern flank of the alliance.
Stoltenberg also said NATO must not waiver in its commitment to Ukraine and “continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes. We will not back down.”
“The main focus is supporting Ukraine and ensuring President [Vladimir Putin] doesn’t win,” he said, adding that Ukraine could only gain acceptable terms if it were to advance on the battlefield.
Speaking later to journalists, Stoltenberg said the meeting would be “very substantive,” covering NATO’s resilience on its eastern frontiers as well as support for Ukraine.
In their two days of meetings, ministers are expected to discuss a particularly urgent need for help with power provision after more Russian attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure. NATO allies had already delivered generators and spare parts to help Ukraine rebuild damaged facilities, Stoltenberg said, with more help on its way.