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News summary of Russia’s war in Ukraine for November 30

Blinken condemned Putin’s attacks on civilians as “barbaric” and pledged continued support for Ukraine.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has strongly condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attacks on Ukrainian citizens as “barbaric”. He also pledged that the US and NATO allies would continue to support Kiev in the face of Russian attempts to “split our alliance”.

“As Ukraine continues to build momentum on the battlefield, President Putin has focused his anger and fire on the people of Ukraine,” Blinken told a news conference Wednesday at the NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Bucharest. “In recent weeks, Russia has bombed more than a third of Ukraine’s energy system, plunging millions of people into cold, dark, freezing temperatures.”

“Heat, water, electricity, for children, for the elderly, for the sick: these are President Putin’s new goals. He is hitting them hard,” the senior US diplomat said. “This brutality of the Ukrainian people is barbaric.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. government pledged $50 million worth of equipment to support Ukraine’s power system. Generators, transformers, spare parts — will arrive in Ukraine “in days or weeks, not months,” Blinken said Wednesday.

Attacks on civilian infrastructure are part of Putin’s “playbook” to “freeze Ukrainians, starve them, drive them out of their homes,” drive up energy and food costs around the world, and “then try to split our alliance,” Blinken said.

“President Putin thinks that if he raises costs enough, the world will abandon Ukraine and leave them to fend for themselves. His strategy has not worked and will not work,” Blinken said.

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Allies know that “defending Ukraine means accepting difficult costs,” Blinken said, “but the cost of inaction is too high.”

Blinken said diplomacy is needed to fully end Russia’s war in Ukraine, but noted that “Russia’s barbaric attacks on Ukrainian civilians are the latest demonstration that President Putin is no longer diplomatically important.”

“The best way to really speed up the opportunities for real diplomacy is to maintain our support for Ukraine and tilt the battlefield in their favor,” Blinken said. “It will also help ensure that Ukraine has a much stronger negotiating position and a hand to play when the negotiating table emerges.”

“An end to Russia’s short-term aggression is the only path to a just and lasting peace,” Blinken said.