Ukraine ready for winter battle, Foreign Minister tells Abu Dhabi forum

Nick Webster

Dec 11, 2022

Dmytro Kuleba says a strategic victory in the war involves the entire international community

Russian forces in Ukraine will struggle to fight in the winter because they have been poorly equipped and ill-treated, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister told the World Policy Conference in Abu Dhabi.

Plunging temperatures and heavy snow have created new challenges in the invasion that began in February, with many towns and cities across Ukraine left without power due to Russian bombing raids.

Addressing the conference from Kyiv by video link, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, whose home has been among those without power, said more than half of Ukraine’s power generation facilities have been damaged or destroyed.

“One of the reasons Ukraine has been able to repel these Russian attacks is because we have never relied on the weather or the seasons,” he said.

“The stakes are very high and nothing can stop our great soldiers or our people, who have suffered enormously.

“We know our army needs to be well-equipped in the winter, just as in the summer.

“The difference between us and the Russians is that we take better care of our soldiers, with better food and uniforms to survive in this environment.

“We have seen how poorly equipped the Russian soldiers are, and also how poorly treated they are — this is a disgrace of the Russian army.

“Many Russian soldiers will suffer enormously because of the cold weather.

“Winter is a game-changer, we know that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has not accepted the reality that Russia is losing the war and that Russia will not win.”

Mr Kuleba said Russia was using “Second World War-era warfare” by sending poorly trained soldiers, prisoners and private mercenaries such as the Wagner Group to fight.

“They are sent in as cannon fodder — they are called ‘one timers’,” he said.

He said that showed “human life does not matter to Russia”.

“This is the biggest difference with Ukraine. Our people are precious to our country.”


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