Ukraine update: Monday brings lull in infrastructure strikes; NATO chief vows Ukraine will become alliance member

by Chris Lange

Chris Lange, FISM News


Monday brought Ukraine a temporary reprieve from relentless, weeks-long Russian strikes on its power stations and key infrastructure. Kyiv officials and workers continue to grapple with a crippling water and energy crisis brought about by previous attacks while locals remain on standby for possible evacuation orders.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a visiting delegation of top foreign officials on Monday that better air defenses must be provided to Ukraine in order “to break this vicious cycle” of Ukrainian workers repairing and rebuilding damaged infrastructure only to have it destroyed again by continued Russian air strikes, The Associated Press reported.

“Every time we will be restoring it, the Russians will be destroying it,” he told counterparts from seven Baltic and Nordic countries.

Sweden said it had provided Ukraine with $279 million worth of air defense systems, ammunition, and military ATVs, as well as winter gear for its troops, and Finland pledged to take in more Ukrainian refugees. 

Back in Washington, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at a Monday press briefing that Washington is working with its global partners and allies to “keep the lights on and the water running” in Ukraine through the provision of energy and water replacement equipment. Kirby called Moscow’s attacks on Ukrainian energy and infrastructure “despicable,” adding that he thought “[Russian President Vladimir] Putin … would have learned a while ago that you just can’t bring the Ukrainian people to their knees.” 

NATO chief vows Ukraine will one day be an alliance member

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg promised that Ukraine would one day become a member of the global security alliance as leaders, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, gathered in Romania to drum up more support for Ukraine.

“NATO’s door is open,” Stoltenberg said, mockingly adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin “will get Finland and Sweden as NATO members” soon. 

The Nordic neighbors applied for membership in April, concerned that they might become Russia’s next targets. However, alliance members Hungary and Turkey have yet to formally clear their accession.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it would be approved early next year. Turkey lifted its objections to the countries’ NATO bids in June but has delayed a formal parliamentary decision over concerns that the Nordic nations harbor members of the separatist militant Kurdistan’s Workers Party, also known as PKK, which Turkey views as a terrorist organization. Turkey blamed a deadly bomb attack in Istanbul two weeks ago on Kurdish militants, which sparked an escalation of the conflict at the Turkish-Syrian border, CNN reported

Reluctant Israel faces mounting pressure to provide military aid to Ukraine

Elsewhere, a “high-level Ukrainian delegation” reportedly visited Israel recently to discuss its pledge to provide Kyiv with missile-detection systems. Mindful of its delicate ties to Russia, Israel had for months avoided imposing sanctions on Moscow or supplying weapons to Ukraine, though it has voiced support for the war-torn nation. Israel’s military relies on communications with Russia to avoid conflict in Syria. Moreover, the Israeli government fears that angering Putin would endanger the large Jewish community living in Russia. Israel’s Defense Ministry declined to comment on the reported meeting.

At least 4 killed, nearly a dozen wounded in Kherson attacks

President Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address Monday that Russian forces had fired nearly 260 times on 30 settlements in the Kherson region within the past several days, damaging a water pumping station for Mykolaiv.

Ukraine’s presidential office on Monday said that at least four civilians were killed and 11 others wounded in the latest Russian attacks. The presidential office also reported continued heavy Russian shelling on the villages of Bakhmut and Toretsk in the east.

“People are sheltering in the basements, many of which are filled by water,” Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said. “They have been living in catastrophic conditions without power or heating.”