On the sidelines of the meeting in the Spanish capital, London and Washington reinforced their military and economic aid to Ukraine.

“This is a special summit, a summit of transformation, the Alliance is changing its strategy in response to Russia’s aggressive anti-European policies,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed in his daily address, after having ” called on NATO countries to speed up the delivery of missile defense systems to Ukraine and to significantly increase pressure on the terrorist state”.

In a joint statement, NATO member countries said they had agreed on a new aid plan involving the “delivery of non-lethal military equipment” and a strengthening of Ukrainian defenses against cyber attacks. -attacks.

“Russia’s appalling cruelty is causing immense human suffering and massive displacement,” they wrote, saying Moscow bore “full responsibility for this humanitarian catastrophe.”

Aid should therefore continue in the months to come.

“Ukraine can count on us for as long as it takes,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, referring to a “moral and political obligation” for the Atlantic Alliance.

The organization has also validated its expansion to Sweden and Finland.

At a press conference in Achkhabad, the Turkmen capital, Mr. Putin castigated the attitude of Westerners.

– “Hegemony” –

“The leading countries of NATO wish (…) to affirm their hegemony, their imperial ambitions”, he accused.

“The call for Ukraine to continue fighting and refuse negotiations only confirms our assumption that Ukraine and the good of the Ukrainian people is not the goal of the West and the NATO, but a way to defend their own interests,” said the Russian president.

In a new strategic roadmap adopted at the Madrid summit, NATO designates Russia as “the most significant and direct threat to the security of the allies”.

“We cannot rule out the possibility of an attack on the sovereignty or territorial integrity of the allies”, warns this document, which had not been revised since 2010.

The NATO countries have validated a strengthening of their military presence on the eastern flank of the Alliance, which will increase the number of its “high-readiness forces” to more than 300,000 soldiers.

The promise of support from the West also materialized with the announcement, on Wednesday, by London of the release of one billion pounds (1.16 billion euros) of additional aid to Ukraine, including anti-aircraft defense and drones.

“As Putin fails to achieve the gains he had planned and hoped for, and the futility of this war becomes apparent to all, his attacks on the people of Ukraine are increasingly barbaric,” the prime minister said. British Boris Johnson, in a press release.

– “Uninterrupted bombardment” –

This new sum brings British military aid to kyiv to 2.3 billion pounds, according to Downing Street.

For their part, the United States announced the payment of a tranche of 1.3 billion dollars of economic aid, as part of a support plan of 7.5 billion promised by Washington in May, while Ukraine’s budget deficit is growing by $5 billion a month.

On the ground, Ukraine has suffered new deadly attacks against civilians, notably in Mikolaiv (south), where, according to Mr. Zelensky, a hypersonic missile targeted a residential building, killing at least five people.

Two days earlier, at least 18 people were killed in the bombardment of a crowded shopping center in Kremenchuk, 330 kilometers southeast of kyiv, according to the Ukrainian government.

Mr Putin on Wednesday denied any responsibility for the attack.

“Our army does not hit any civilian infrastructure site. We have every possibility of knowing where what is,” he said.

In the Donbass, the city of Lysytchansk “lives under an uninterrupted bombardment of all kinds of weapons”, lamented the governor of the Lugansk region, Serguiï Gaïdaï, estimating that 15,000 civilians remain in the city.

This is the last major city to be conquered by the Russians in the Lugansk region, one of the two provinces of the industrial basin of the Donbass, which Moscow intends to fully control.

According to the Russian agency Ria Novosti, the forces of Moscow and the pro-Russian separatists claimed Thursday morning the capture of the refinery of the city.

However, the staff of the Ukrainian army affirmed at the same time that the fighting continued around this site, while the Russian forces are also trying to block access to the city.

In addition, the Ukrainian authorities announced that they had recovered 144 soldiers, including 95 “Azovstal defenders” in Mariupol as part of the “largest exchange (of prisoners with Moscow) since the start of the Russian invasion”.

“Among them are 43 soldiers from the Azov regiment”, a unit integrated for several years into the Ukrainian army but which Moscow describes as “Nazi”, added the Ukrainian intelligence service.