As Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his country’s forces were facing a “difficult” situation, the Ukrainian foreign minister called for faster delivery of weapons.
Zelenskyy’s remarks came as the Ukrainian forces are defending against attempted Russian advances in several regions.
Ukraine’s General Staff said on Wednesday its forces had repelled six Russian attacks in the past 24 hours in the eastern Donbas region, while Russian artillery had relentlessly shelled the right bank of the Dnieper River and Kherson city further south.
Separately, Zelenskyy said the Russian military was also attacking Luhansk, in the east, and Kharkiv, in the northeast, the latter an area Ukraine recaptured in September.
“The situation at the front is difficult,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address. “Despite extremely large losses, the occupiers are still trying to advance” in Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv. And “they are planning something in the south,” he said.
Earlier on Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russia’s President wanted “to use winter as a weapon of war” in his campaign in Ukraine.
Reiterating the promise that NATO will continuing supporting Ukraine in war against Russia, he said the alliance would provide more military resources to Kiev.
He was talking to reporters in Bucharest ahead of a meeting of the NATO foreign ministers as Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for increasing the production of weapons.
Separately, Stoltenberg at a joint news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, said, “We will stand by Ukraine as long as it takes, we will not back down.”
“We realise that it is extremely important that President Putin is not able to win in Ukraine. That will be a tragedy for Ukraine, but it will also make the world more dangerous and much more vulnerable.”
Kuleba said that last time he met senior NATO officials, his three words were “weapons, weapons, weapons”.
“Today I have three other words, which are faster, faster and faster. We appreciate what has been done, but the war still goes on. Decisions on weapons and production lines have to be made faster,” he added.
Kuleba also told reporters that his country needed “air defence, – IRIS, Hawks, Patriots – and we need transformers (for our energy needs)”.
Also on Tuesday, NATO issued a statement that said Russia’s persistent attacks on Ukrainian civilian and energy grids were depriving millions of basic human services.
NATO members would assist Ukraine in repairing its energy infrastructure and protecting people from missile attacks, the statement added.
It is reported that the issue of providing the US-made Patriot missile defence system to Ukraine was largely dominating discussions on the sidelines of the summit. The suggestion was initially put forward by Poland – an alliance member after Ukraine’s persistent demand.
Warsaw has said that Berlin, instead of shifting the missile defence system to Poland, should provide these to Ukraine.