To help Ukraine's 43 million people maintain their resolve in fighting — now on its 280th day — NATO allies are considering sending Patriot missiles, angering Russia, and boosting provisions of blankets, generators and other basic necessities.

NATO developing political, practical partnerships to strengthen Ukraine's institutions and help transition from Soviet standards, says the alliance's chief Jens Stoltenberg.
NATO developing political, practical partnerships to strengthen Ukraine's institutions and help transition from Soviet standards, says the alliance's chief Jens Stoltenberg. (AA)

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Ukraine 'must remain sovereign' if it wants to join NATO

In order for the embattled nation of Ukraine to one day join the ranks of NATO, the country needs to remain sovereign and independent, said the alliance’s chief.

Asked at the end of a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Romania's capital Bucharest if Ukraine deserves to join the alliance, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: ''If Ukraine cannot continue as a sovereign and independent country, then, of course, membership – the issue cannot be on the table.” 

Speaking at a press conference, Stoltenberg added that NATO allies are ready to supply Ukraine with advanced military materials, ammunition, fuel, and what it needs as it continues to fight off Russian forces. 

UK unveils new Russia sanctions over Ukraine mobilisation

Britain unveiled a new round of sanctions on Russian officials over its offensive in Ukraine, targeting those accused of spearheading recent mobilisation efforts and the recruitment of "criminal mercenaries".

The new package of 22 sanctions hit Russia's deputy prime minister Denis Manturov, who London said is responsible for overseeing the country's weapons industry and equipping newly mobilised troops.

It also targeted 10 governors and regional heads in places including Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kalmykia, from where it noted: "a significant number" of conscripts have been drawn. 

Head of Russian intelligence claims Poland plans referendums in Ukraine

Poland plans to hold referendums on annexing western Ukrainian territories, according to the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.

As a part of the plan, the Polish intelligence services leaked the information about the possibility of holding a referendum in the Lviv region to Ukraine's media, Sergey Naryshkin said in an interview with the Russian state-run RIA news agency.

" The reaction of significant regional players and ordinary citizens is supposed to be carefully monitored and analyzed," he said. 

Russia says seized east Ukraine villages near Bakhmut

Russia said it had seized east Ukrainian settlements near the embattled town of Bakhmut that Moscow has been trying to capture since this summer.

"In the Donetsk area, after offensive actions, Russian troops fully liberated the settlements of Bilogorivka and Pershe Travnya," the defence ministry said in a briefing.

Bilogorivka is 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of Bakhmut.

Pershe Travnya – known as Ozarianyvka in Ukrainian – is 20 kilometres (12 miles) to the south.

Later on Wednesday, the army announced it also seized Andriivka, also to the south. 

US believes military operations will continue through Ukraine winter - Kirby

The Russians have shown no indication that they will stop or slow attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, and Washington believes military operations will persist through winter months, possibly curtailed by weather, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said. 

Russia should use advanced weapons in Ukraine, Shoigu says

Russia's defence minister said that the armed forces should use new advanced weapons systems in the conflict in Ukraine.

"It is necessary to continue the modernisation and creation of promising systems with their subsequent use during the special military operation," Sergei Shoigu said at a defence ministry meeting of senior generals.

Shoigu, one of President Vladimir Putin's closest allies, did not specify which advanced weapons should be used, though he said he wanted to discuss with the generals new ways of improving artillery and missile attacks.

Brussels proposes plan to confiscate frozen Russian assets

The European Commission proposed a plan to confiscate Russian assets that have been frozen to punish Moscow for the attack against Ukraine.

"We have blocked 300 billion euros of the Russian Central Bank reserves and we have frozen 19 billion euros of Russian oligarchs' money," Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Union's executive said.

She said that in the short term the EU and its partners could manage the funds and invest them. The proceeds would go to Ukraine so that ultimately would compensate for damages caused to the country.

Ukrainian grain exports via Poland rise by 50%

Around 450,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain are being transported via Poland monthly, over 50 percent more than in the middle of the year, Poland's infrastructure minister said, as Warsaw helps its neighbour to increase its food exports.

"Compared to October last year, the increase in grain transport in the same period of 2022 is over 16 times," Andrzej Adamczyk said.

EU seeks tribunal to probe possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine

The European Union will try to set up a specialised court, backed by the United Nations, to investigate and prosecute possible war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

"We are ready to start working with the international community to get the broadest international support possible for this specialised court," von der Leyen said.

"While continuing to support the International Criminal Court, we are proposing to set up a specialised court, backed by the United Nations, to investigate and prosecute Russia's crime of aggression," von der Leyen said.

Fire at oil depot in Russian region bordering Ukraine: governor

An oil depot in Russia's Bryansk region near the border with Ukraine was on fire, according to the local governor. 

"Reservoirs with oil products are on fire in the Surazhsky district. Fire and rescue teams are at the scene," governor Alexander Bogomaz said on social media. 

Bogomaz said the fire engulfed an area of 1,800 square metres and over 80 people were involved in putting it out. Citing emergency services, state news agency TASS later reported that the fire had spread to an area of 4,000 square metres.

Europe needs to limit Russian influence in Balkans: Italy

Europe should increase its presence in the western Balkans to limit the influence of Russia, Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani said ahead of the second day of NATO meetings in Bucharest.

"The stability in western Balkans is important for peace. We need to stop the Russians in the western Balkans, we need more Europe," Tajani said.

We need to protect all the countries in the western Balkans and close to Ukraine because it is important in this moment to work together, Unity is important and it's a strong message to Russia

Antonio Tajani, Italian Foreign Minister

Russia 'planning something in the south': Zelenskyy

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said that the situation at the front line remains difficult, with Russian forces attempting to advance in the Donbass region and Kharkiv.

"The situation at the front is difficult," Zelenskyy said in a video address. 

"Despite extremely large losses, the occupiers are still trying to advance on the Donetsk region, gain a foothold in Luhansk region, move into Kharkiv region, they are planning something in the south."

New Zealand, Finland reassert need to continue aiding Ukraine

New Zealand and Finland have reaffirmed the need for continued international support to Ukraine for as long as possible so that the conflict ends on terms set by Kiev and reiterated their unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty.

"We discussed our strong commitment to supporting Ukraine as the war continues," New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a joint media briefing with her Finnish counterpart, Sanna Marin, after meeting in Auckland.

Ardern welcomed Finland's commitment to ensure the free trade agreement with the European Union gets ratified and signed as soon as possible after finalising it earlier this year.

For live updates from Tuesday (November 29), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies