All united behind Ukraine. Gathered in Bucharest, NATO’s allies once again wanted to demonstrate their cohesion. In response to the Russian bombings on energy infrastructure, the foreign ministers of more than thirty countries, meeting on Tuesday November 29 and Wednesday November 30 in the Romanian capital, promised to speed up their deliveries of equipment to help Ukrainians spend the winter.
“Over the past few weeks, Russia has bombed more than a third of Ukraine’s energy system, plunging millions into cold and dark,” affirmed the American Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at the end of the meeting of the heads of NATO diplomacy. “These are President Putin’s new targets. This brutalization of the Ukrainian people is barbaric. »
Under the impetus of the United States, everyone went there with their announcement, in the perspective of an international conference of donors, scheduled for December 13 in Paris. The United States has released financial aid of $53 million, in addition to an envelope of $55 million already disbursed. The European Union is to deliver 500 generators and 2,000 tents adapted to winter conditions, as part of a cooperation between 17 member states. Germany will provide “more than 350 generators”the France 100, currently in transit at the European hub in Suceava, Romania.
Strikes against transformer stations
The promises of immediate aid could nevertheless come up against a series of difficulties, starting with the global shortage of materials such as autotransformers. In addition, the electrical systems of donor countries are often incompatible with those of Ukraine, and some countries are reluctant to dip into their stocks of spare parts.
Another challenge is the protection of new equipment, once installed. Russian strikes – rockets, missiles and swarms of drones – target not only thermal and hydroelectric power stations, as well as gas production centers, but also high-voltage transformer stations, which are particularly vulnerable to air attacks. . According to specialists, the delivery of additional air defense systems by Western countries (the Pentagon plans to supply kyiv with a Patriot model) will not be enough to protect the entire territory of Ukraine.
Cancellation of an American-Russian bilateral meeting
Nine months after the Russian invasion, the Biden administration is trying to maintain a united front of Western countries facing the weariness of public opinion. The official line has not changed: support kyiv to allow it to decide “how, when and under what circumstances he will negotiate” with Russia, in the best possible position. Obviously, that time has not yet come. Moscow canceled at the last minute the session of the bilateral coordination commission of the New Start strategic nuclear disarmament treaty, scheduled for November 29 to December 6 in Cairo. A reflection of the “deep disconnect” between the two countries, according to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov.
In Washington, the White House intends to have the outgoing Congress vote a new tranche of aid of 37.7 billion dollars (36.5 billion euros) for the benefit of Ukraine. Before the Republican majority in the House of Representatives imposed stricter control on the use of weapons delivered to kyiv.
Waiting for the Turkish green light
In addition to the war in Ukraine, the NATO ministers made a progress report on the accession of Finland and Sweden to the organization, already ratified by 28 of the 30 member countries but which remains suspended on the green light from Turkey and Hungary. After a meeting with his Finnish and Swedish counterparts, the head of Turkish diplomacy Mevlüt Çavusoglu reported the “not positive” Sweden and Finland, while still saying they are waiting for “concrete measures”. Turkey has been blocking the entry of the two Nordic countries into the Atlantic Alliance since May, linking their membership to their fight against Kurdish movements and their supporters on their soil.