NATO must prepare for ‘long haul’ in Ukraine, says Stoltenberg – POLITICO

NATO allies must reckon that the war in Ukraine could last for months or even years, warned the head of the military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, on Wednesday.

Stoltenberg made his remarks as NATO foreign ministers gathered in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss how best to support Ukraine while Russian troops regroup and Moscow plots its next move. Speaking to reporters, Stoltenberg called the coming weeks “a critical phase of the war.”

“We have to be realistic and realize that this could take many months or even years,” he said.

“We have to be prepared for that [the] Long-haul,” added the Secretary-General, “both when it comes to supporting Ukraine, maintaining sanctions and strengthening our defenses.”

Since the war began in late February, NATO allies have provided Ukraine with a wide range of support, including weapons, while maintaining a position that no NATO aircraft or troops will enter Ukrainian territory.

Now, amid concerns about Russian atrocities against Ukrainian civilians, the alliance is under increasing pressure to offer Ukraine more weapons, tanks and even jets. Another source of pressure: NATO allies expect that Russia will soon launch a renewed push into eastern Ukraine after withdrawing from Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.

Putin has made frozen conflicts a hallmark of his foreign policy for years, including in the occupied territories of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. While Russian forces failed to capture Kyiv and overthrow the Ukrainian government, the NATO chief said Putin now wants to capture and occupy a larger part of Donbass.

“We see Russia moving forces from the north to reinforce them, resupply them, rearm them and then move them east where we expect a major offensive,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

Still, he added: “We have seen no indication that President Putin has changed his ambition to control all of Ukraine.”

https://www.politico.eu/article/nato-jens-stoltenberg-russia-conflict-in-ukraine-alliance-brussels/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication NATO must prepare for 'long haul' in Ukraine, says Stoltenberg - POLITICO

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