United States and allies vow long-term support for Ukraine
By John Ismay, Steven Erlanger, Eric Schmitt and Christopher F. Schuetze
Amid concerns that spiraling energy costs and Ukraine slowing down on the battlefield in winter could undermine Western resolve, the United States and its NATO allies Wednesday reaffirmed their support for bolstering Ukraine’s defenses in the face of intensifying Russian aggression.
Ukraine said Wednesday that Germany had delivered the first of four ultramodern air defense systems — so new that they have never been used on the battlefield — as Russia’s attacks spurred a renewed effort from Ukraine’s international allies. The Netherlands also promised millions of dollars in air-defense missiles, a day after the White House said it was working to speed up the delivery of two National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, known as NASAMs, that the United States uses to help defend the White House and the Capitol.
“We’ve come together again today united by our shared determination to help Ukraine defend its sovereignty, its territory and its people from Russia’s unjust and unprovoked assault,” U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said as officials from dozens of countries gathered in Brussels to discuss the continued supplying of arms to Ukraine.
The meeting came just days after President Vladimir Putin of Russia again showed his willingness to target civilians across Ukraine, with the broadest barrage of missile and drone strikes on Ukrainian cities since the war began.
After the meeting, Austin and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, discussed certain air defense missile systems that Ukraine has asked for, but it was unclear whether a decision had been made yet on whether to provide those weapons.
Here are other developments:
— Russia’s domestic intelligence service blamed Ukraine’s spy agency for the bombing of the bridge to Crimea and arrested eight people in connection with the blast.
— Power was cut to Ukraine’s nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia for the second time in five days, after Russian forces shelled a substation that supplies electricity to the plant, the national energy company said. The outage leaves the plant relying on diesel generators to cool its reactors.
— As the United States and NATO scour the world for weapons to send to Ukraine, the hunt has focused on some unlikely nations, including Cyprus. At the same time, pressure is growing on the Biden administration to speed up the deployment to Ukraine of an air-defense system that is used to help protect the White House.
— President Joe Biden told CNN that he had “no intention” of talking to Putin next month at a meeting of the Group of 20 nations but said that he would consider such an interaction if it were to include discussion of the release of Brittney Griner, the WNBA star.