Home USA News An uneasy calm surrounds Ukraine as the West prepares winter aid

An uneasy calm surrounds Ukraine as the West prepares winter aid

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — An uneasy calm reigned over Kiev Tuesday as residents of the Ukrainian capital did what they could to prepare for expected Russian missile attacks to destroy more energy infrastructure as winter approaches.

To ease the pain, the NATO allies planned to stockpile everything from blankets to generators to ensure the 43 million Ukrainians could keep their resolve during the 10th month of fighting against the Russian invasion.

Ukraine’s first lady called on the West to show the same resilience that Ukrainians have shown against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military campaign.

“Ukrainians are very tired of this war, but we have no choice,” Alena Zelenska, the wife of President Vladimir Zelensky, said in an interview with the BBC during her visit to Britain.

“We hope that the approach of Christmas will not make you forget our tragedy and get used to our suffering,” she said.

A two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Bucharest, Romania, is likely to see the 30-nation alliance once again pledge non-lethal support to Ukraine: fuel, generators, medicine and winter equipment in addition to new military support. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken should have announced significant US aid to Ukraine’s energy system, US officials said

Since the beginning of October, the Ukrainian network has been hit by targeted Russian strikes, which Western officials call a Russian campaign to use weapons in the coming winter cold.

Ukrainians provide protection – both for the troops and for civilians. The government has opened hundreds of aid stations, dubbed “Points of Invincibility”, where residents facing power, heating and water cuts can stay warm, charge their phones, enjoy snacks and hot drinks, and even have fun.

“There was no electricity for two days. Now there is only electricity, but no gas,” said Vanda Branislavovina, who was resting in one of these relief centers in Kyiv’s Obolon district.

The 71-year-old lamented the uncertainty that Russia would simply resume its strikes once the infrastructure was fixed, in a frustrating cycle of destruction and repair.

It underscored that war continues to stain all aspects of life, even if civilian casualties are relatively low at the moment.

The deputy head of the presidential administration, Kirill Tymoshenko, said that Russian troops shelled seven regions in the south and east of Ukraine during the night, using rockets, drones and heavy artillery. At least one civilian was killed and two others were injured.

Tymoshenko reported that as of Tuesday, electricity supply was restored for 24% of residents of the affected southern city of Kherson.

The governor of the region said that on the battlefields in the eastern Luhansk region, Ukrainian forces continue their slow advance, advancing towards the Russian defensive lines established between the two key cities. Nevertheless, Syarhei Gaidai admitted in television appearances that the onset of winter complicates the “difficult” combat situation.

The prospect of any peace remained remote. On Tuesday, the Kremlin confirmed that negotiations are possible only if Ukraine meets Russia’s demands. The press secretary of the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, told journalists that “now it is impossible to conduct any negotiations, because the Ukrainian side categorically rejects them.”

He noted that “political will and willingness to discuss Russian demands” are necessary for conducting negotiations.

Russia demanded that Ukraine recognize Crimea as part of Russia and recognize other Russian conquests. He also repeated his earlier demands for “demilitarization” and “denazification,” though with less vigor than in the past.

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Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.

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