Russia's war on Ukraine latest news: NATO pledges more military, energy aid for Ukraine

Nov 29 (Reuters) - The United States and NATO allies promised more arms for Kyiv and equipment to help restore Ukrainian power and heat knocked out by Russian missile and drone strikes, as air raid sirens blared across Ukraine for the first time this week.

DIPLOMACY

* NATO allies said they would help Ukraine repair energy infrastructure heavily damaged by a series of Russian bombardments in what NATO's chief said was Moscow using the descending winter cold as "a weapon of war".

* NATO's chief said allies were also discussing providing Patriot air defence units to Ukraine. Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warned NATO against doing so, denouncing the alliance as a "criminal entity" for delivering arms to what he called "extremist regimes".

* NATO powers must take the political decision to send modern battle tanks to Ukraine to give them a military edge against invading Russian forces during the winter months, Lithuania's foreign minister said.

* Russia accused the United States of toxic anti-Russian behaviour that it said had prompted it to pull out of nuclear arms talks with U.S. officials in Cairo this week. U.S.-Russian relations have plunged to their most confrontational point in 60 years since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

* The Group of Seven wealthy democracies (G7) agreed to set up a network to coordinate investigations into war crimes, as part of a push to prosecute suspected atrocities in Ukraine.

* Russia is trying to make the United States understand that increasing U.S. involvement in the Ukraine conflict carries growing risks, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday. Moscow has repeatedly complained that Western military support for Ukraine is dragging out the conflict.

POWER SUPPLY

* The United States announced $53 million to support the purchase of power grid equipment for Ukraine.

* Ukraine is still struggling to restore full power nearly a week after a wave of Russian missile strikes that damaged energy facilities across the country.

* Kyiv plans to put up Christmas trees, without lights, throughout the battered capital in a defiant display of holiday spirit as the area's millions of residents suffer through blackouts, officials said.

BATTLEFIELDS

* Russia is firing unarmed cruise missiles that were designed to carry nuclear warheads at targets in Ukraine to try to deplete Kyiv's stocks of air defenses, a senior U.S. military official said.

* Squelching through thick mud, Petro, a Ukrainian soldier dug in not far from Russian positions in the eastern Donbas region, recounted matter-of-factly how his unit had to use buckets to clear out water-logged trenches. Heavy rain and falling temperatures are making conditions even grimmer along the front lines as the war grinds into winter.

* Russian forces shelled 30 settlements in Ukraine's southern Kherson region 258 times in the past week, Zelenskiy said. Reuters could not verify the battlefield reports.

Compiled by Simon Cameron-Moore, Alex Richardson and Mark Heinrich

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