Bucharest/Moscow/Kyiv: NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of using the harsh winter in Ukraine as a weapon of war. A special meeting of NATO is underway in Bucharest, and in this meeting, other NATO member countries also criticized Russia for its missile attacks on civilian areas. However, Russia has denied these allegations and explained that the attacks are being carried out in places that are useful for Ukraine’s military operations. Meanwhile, NATO urged European countries to prepare to accept more refugees from Ukraine in view of the harsh winter in Ukraine.
Over the past two months, Russia has launched large-scale missile attacks on several Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv. In these attacks, almost 40 per cent of Ukraine’s electricity and heating and water supply systems have been destroyed. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently informed that ten million Ukrainian citizens had been affected by this. In the Ukrainian capital, the average temperature has dropped to two degrees Celsius. It will likely fall to zero to minus five degrees in the next month. In the wake of the harsh winter, the absence or shortage of electricity, water and heating can be life-threatening for Ukrainian citizens. The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a similar warning a few days ago.
Against this background, NATO has drawn attention to it by accusing Russia of using the ‘Winter as a Weapon’. “President Putin is now trying to use winter as a weapon in his war against Ukraine. It is scary, and we should be prepared to assume that there will be more attacks on Ukraine. NATO is aware of this, and steps are being taken to provide additional assistance to Ukraine,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said. Ministers of NATO member countries have also endorsed the statement made by Stoltenberg.
The United States has announced independent financial assistance of $5.3 million to stabilize the power supply because of the severe winter in Ukraine. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken clarified that this includes electricity supply systems and other assistance.