NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg reiterated on Tuesday that the Western military alliance "will continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes" as the country defends itself against Russia’s invasion.
Speaking at the start of a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania, Stoltenberg said: "NATO will continue to stand for Ukraine as long as it takes. We will not back down."
Poland's Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau told reporters in Bucharest that "there will be no peace in Europe unless Ukraine regains its sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and achieves a conclusive victory in defense of these values."
Poland's top diplomat Zbigniew Rau (right) attends a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania. Photo: EPA/ROBERT GHEMENT
Rau on Tuesday "underlined the need to support the Ukrainian energy sector, as well as the necessity to provide help to Ukraine during the upcoming winter," according to the Polish foreign ministry.
Talks with countries 'facing pressure from Russia'
On Wednesday, NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest were expected to seek to reassure fragile countries in Russia's neighbourhood as the war in Ukraine dragged into its 10th month, the Reuters news agency reported.
Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that the NATO alliance would hold talks with Moldova, Georgia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, countries "facing pressure from Russia."
"We will take further steps to help them protect their independence, and strengthen their ability to defend themselves," Stoltenberg said, as quoted by Reuters.
During their meeting in the Romanian capital on Tuesday and Wednesday, top diplomats from NATO countries were also expected to talk about ways of strengthening NATO’s eastern flank, according to the Polish foreign ministry.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Russia is planning more attacks on his country this week, appealing to defence forces and citizens to be prepared to endure a new wave of air strikes on energy infrastructure amid freezing temperatures.
Zelensky last week urged the United Nations Security Council to act against Russia over air strikes on civilian infrastructure that have led to massive power cuts and deprived residents of heat and water in cities across Ukraine, news agencies have reported.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters in Bucharest on Tuesday that his country needed Western air defence systems and transformers for its energy needs.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, NATO foreign ministers voiced solidarity with Poland after a deadly missile incident near the country's border with Ukraine in mid-November.
Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, gov.pl