Ukraine ‘will not back down’ against Russia as it urges Western support

‘Ukraine is not going to back down’, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tells NATO foreign ministers.

Dmytro Kuleba (C) and Nato Secretary general Jens Stoltenberg
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, centre, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, right, arrive at a NATO foreign ministers' meeting, in Brussels, November 29 [Saul Loeb/Pool via Reuters]

Ukraine will forge ahead in the battle against Russia’s invasion, Kyiv’s top diplomat has pledged as he seeks to rally Western support.

Ukraine will not “back down” in fighting against the Russian invasion, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a summit of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, even as its military locked into a bloody stalemate with enemy forces amid signs that the provision of weapons and funding is slowing and that the war in Gaza is limiting global attention.

“We have to continue, we have to keep fighting. Ukraine is not going to back down,” Kuleba said. “The issue here is not just Ukraine’s security, it is the security and safety of the entire Euro-Atlantic space.”

His entreaty comes amid fears that Western fatigue is setting in over the drawn-out war, and that attention and funding is shifting to the Middle East.

The United States, Ukraine’s biggest single-country donor, has sent more than $40bn in aid since Russia’s invasion in February 2022. However, some $61bn in additional aid to Ukraine is being held up by the US Congress.

Another $50bn package from the European Union is struggling to pass because of opposition from Hungary, leaving Ukraine concerned about dwindling resources as it heads into the harsh winter.

‘Stay the course’

Despite the funding delays, Western leaders insist they will stand by Ukraine as long as it takes.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “every single NATO member expressed enduring support for Ukraine” at Wednesday’s summit.

He added that the US is looking for supplemental funding for Ukraine to be approved by Congress in the coming weeks.

As well as funds, Kyiv is in desperate need of ammunition, with the West struggling to keep pace with earlier pledges to supply bullets and shells.

The US is engaged in talks with Greece to buy $47m worth of artillery shells for Ukraine, which has urged partners to accelerate the delivery of ammunition.

The EU has so far sent Ukraine some 300,000 of the 1 million shells it promised, Kuleba said, but it has warned that it will not be able to meet the target in full.

However, Germany’s foreign minister voiced strong backing for redoubling military aid, urging for the formation of a “protective shield” that can block Russian attacks during the winter.

Winter stalemate

The Ukraine-focused NATO summit comes as Russian and Ukrainian forces appear to grind to a winter deadlock 22 months into the war.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s military said it had fended off a string of overnight Russian drone and missile attacks.

The air force said it destroyed nearly two dozen Russian attack drones and several missiles in the nationwide aerial assault.

Russian air defence also destroyed a Ukraine-launched drone flying towards Moscow, the mayor of the capital, Sergei Sobyanin, said.

Neither Russia nor Ukraine has made significant breakthroughs on the battlefield for weeks as Moscow’s invasion drags on.

The conflict has killed or wounded an estimated 500,000 from both sides.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies