Putin Seeks To Use Winter As A War Weapon Against Ukraine

The day before the two-day NATO summit in Bucharest, Secretary general Jens Stoltenberg affirms Russia is weaponizing winter and using it as a war weapon against Ukrainian civilians. NATO Foreign Ministers gathered in Bucharest on the 29th and 30th of November as Russia’s ongoing invasion is threatening Euro-Atlantic peace, security, and prosperity. The summit also welcomed Sweden and Finland as states invited to join the Alliance; their membership will ensure their safety, while it will strengthen NATO and the Euro-Atlantic area’s security.

“President Putin is now trying to use the winter as a weapon of war against Ukraine, and this is horrific and we need to be prepared for more attacks,” this is the statement made by Secretary general Stoltenberg on the eve of the two-day summit. “That’s the reason why NATO’s allies have stepped up their support to Ukraine”, he added. According to the Aljazeera article from which the previous quotes have been taken, other Foreign Ministers agree with Stoltenberg, and they are condemning Putin’s war actions as they are a massive threat to the civilians’ security. This is particularly true if one considers that the latest attacks are focused on critical infrastructures, such as energy infrastructures. “Russia is weaponizing civilian energy security, and it is truly shameful,” Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in Kyiv. Moreover, in the same Aljazeera article to which we were previously referring one can find the statement of European foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell who claims: “Russian President Vladimir Putin continues trying to make Ukraine a black hole — no light, no electricity, no heating to put the Ukrainians into the darkness and the cold.”

The detailed report of the summit is now available on the official NATO website and other mass-media websites, such as BBC news. The willingness to support Ukraine and not back up in front of the intimidation’s acts Putin pursued in the last weeks is made very clear in the opening speech of the Secretary general: “NATO is here, NATO is vigilant, and NATO is ready to defend every inch of allied territory. NATO allies are not parties to the conflict in Ukraine, but we are providing unprecedented support to Ukraine because it is a nation that has the right to self-defence, a right that is enshrined in the U.N. Charter.” However, Putin’s massive missile attacks on civilian infrastructures such as homes, hospitals, and power grids are becoming a weekly pattern. According to Stoltenberg, Putin is exploiting frost, snow, and ice not only on the battlefield but also against Ukraine’s citizens. “The price we pay is in money, the price Ukrainians pay is in blood,” the Secretary general said.

In this particular and delicate historical moment, every country around the world is suffering from Putin’s war consequences. For example, the sharp rise in prices and the financial crisis are some of them. In the meantime, Ukrainians are going to face the coldest months of the year while the damages to energy infrastructure are piling up. Therefore, NATO allies concur that is essential to send, other than military aid, non-lethal supplies, such as medical supplies, heating equipment, and infrastructure repairs, as the France24 correspondent Dave Keating reported. Ukrainian citizens need full support to cope with the freezing temperature they are going to face, and NATO allies are ready to give it to them and “stand by Ukraine as long as it takes”. On the other hand, security analyst professor Michael Clarke released an interview on Sky news affirming that the winter may mix things up in favour of Ukraine because “they’ve got better equipment, they are better organized, they’ve got better logistics, they get better food. All the problems that Russia has will be magnified if they get stuck in a really harsh winter.”

Considering that, NATO’s help and non-lethal supplies are crucial, in particular for Ukrainian citizens. NATO summit showed that not only military aid is important to support Ukraine. In fact, NATO allies will do more to restore and protect energy infrastructure, and the US is also expected to announce a new package of aid for Ukraine to help restore electricity supplies. In conclusion, the two-day NATO meeting presented a united front against President Putin, who is condemned by several ministers. Moreover, supplies for Ukraine will not be focused only on military aid.