NATO foreign ministers were set for talks on Wednesday with countries that they fear could face destabilization amid Russia's war in Ukraine.
The 30-member alliance will hold discussions with Moldova, Georgia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina — all countries that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says are "facing pressure from Russia."
Stoltenberg has said further steps are needed to help the countries protect their independence "and strengthen their ability to defend themselves."
"The reason we are having this gathering is a signal from us on how important it is to create stability not just for NATO countries but beyond," Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said on arrival for the second day of a ministers' meeting in Bucharest.
Here are the other main headlines from the war in Ukraine on Wednesday, November 30:
Russia says it seized settlements in Donetsk region
The Russian Defense Ministry said that its forces have seized Ukrainian villages near the town of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region.
"In the Donetsk area, after offensive actions, Russian troops fully liberated the settlements of [Bilohorivka] and [Pershe Travnia]," the ministry said.
Later, the army said it had also seized the city of Andriivka.
Spain: Ukrainian embassy employee injured by letter bomb
One employee at the Ukrainian Embassy in Spanish capital Madrid has received light injuries from a letter bomb addressed to the ambassador, Spain's Interior Ministry said.
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko said that the envelope exploded in the hands of the embassy's manager as he examined it. Spanish government official Mercedes Gonzalez said that the letter caused a small wound on the employee's finger.
Immediately after the incident, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ordered that security at all Ukrainian embassies be strengthened.
Zambian killed in Ukraine was Wagner mercenary
A Zambian student who died in Ukraine fighting with Russian troops had been employed by the Wagner mercenary group, its leader said.
The student had been serving a prison sentence in Russia, having been sentenced for unspecified crimes in April 2020.
Wagner Group head Yevgeny Prigozhin said that the 23-year-old Zambian citizen "died a hero."
Reports have circulated that Russia has offered freedom to convicts if they enlist to fight in Ukraine.
Rome wants to counter Russia's influence in the Balkans
Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani said on Wednesday that Europe should increase its presence in the western Balkans to limit the influence of Russia.
"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."
In talks on Tuesday, the NATO allies pledged more help to Ukraine to help fix the country's damaged power infrastructure.
EU seeks to set up war crimes court
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says the EU will try to set up a specialized court on Russian war crimes in Ukraine, with the UN backing.
"We are ready to start working with the international community to get the broadest international support possible for this specialized court," von der Leyen said.
Justice ministers from G7agreed to set up a network to coordinate investigations into war crimes. The move was aimed at making investigations more efficient at gathering evidence.
UK sanctions target Russian mobilization officials
Britain has announced a new package of 22 sanctions targeted at Russian officials behind the forced mobilization of citizens to take part in the invasion of Ukraine.
The individuals include Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, who Britain said was responsible for overseeing the Russian weapons industry and equipping troops that Moscow mobilized.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly described the mobilization as "a desperate attempt to overwhelm the valiant Ukrainians defending their territory" that had failed.
"Today, we have sanctioned individuals who have enforced this conscription, sending thousands of Russian citizens to fight in Putin's illegal and abhorrent war."
Ukraine seeks to influence Germany on Patriot systems
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba says he will try to convince Germany to allow the delivery of US-made Patriot missile defense systems to Kyiv.
Kuleba said he believed the allies' promises to support his country, but military and aid support needed to come faster. In particular, he said, Ukraine needs air defense systems to stop future attacks from the air.
"The message is simple: give Patriots as soon as you can because this is the system that Ukraine needs to protect its civilian population and infrastructure," he said.
Berlin said on November 24 that Patriot air defense units it offered to Poland are only for use on NATO territory. That was seen as a counter to demands by Warsaw for the system to be sent to Ukraine.
"If Germany is ready to provide Patriots to Poland and Poland is ready to hand them to Ukraine, then I think the solution for the German government is obvious," he said, adding that Kyiv would work with Berlin on the issue.
"The logic of decision-making when it comes to providing certain types of weapons must be changed," Kuleba said.
"We need to prevent tragedies, not respond to tragedies."
Germany to train 5,000 soldiers by mid-2023
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht says her country will have trained 5,000 Ukrainian soldiers on German soil by the summer of next year.
'We need hard power' for Ukraine, Finnish PM says
The prime minister of Finland says the country must provide more weapons and support to Ukraine to ensure it is victorious against Russia.
Sanna Marin made the comments in Auckland on Wednesday, in the first-ever visit by a Finnish prime minister to New Zealand and Australia.
"We need hard power when it comes to Ukraine,'' Marin told reporters. "They need weapons, they need financial support, they need humanitarian support, and we need to also make sure that all the refugees fleeing from Ukraine are welcomed to Europe," Marin said.
Russia says Ukraine attacked Kursk power plant
A local governor in Russia's Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, says Ukrainian forces struck a power plant on Tuesday.
"In total, there were about 11 launches. A power plant was hit," Governor Roman Starovoytsaid on the Telegram messaging app.
"Because of this, there are partial power outages in the Sudzha and Korenevo districts."
Germany promises Ukraine help to fix power grid
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, saying Berlin will dispatch 350 generators and provide financial assistance to repair power facilities worth 56 million euros ($57 million).
Russian air strikes in Ukraine have targeted civilian infrastructure, water, and electricity supplies.
"The chancellor condemned the ongoing shelling and assured Ukraine of further short-term support," German government Steffen Hebestreit spokesperson said.
Zelenskyy said the two leaders had discussed cooperation, both bilateral and in international institutions.
Ukraine facing 'difficult' situation at front
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday said Russian troops were seeking to gain ground in the Donbas and Kharkiv regions.
"The situation at the front is difficult," Zelenskyy said in his nightly 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."
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rc/dj (AFP, dpa, AP, Reuters)