The conflict in Ukraine will be protracted, so Western countries need to prepare for long-term military support for Kyiv, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with The Guardian.
In his opinion, Moscow is now not interested in a peaceful settlement of the conflict and is waging a “war of attrition”. This, the Secretary General believes, is evidenced by the ongoing battles for Artemovsk (Bakhmut), as well as Russia’s buildup of military-industrial production.
Therefore, the US, UK, France, Germany and other countries should be ready to support Ukraine with weapons, ammunition and spare parts for a long time, he argues. In particular, we are talking about the supply of artillery shells for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, since the current level of their expenditure is “higher than the current level of production.”
Stoltenberg also said that the purpose of the already agreed supply of weapons and equipment to Kyiv was to support the planned counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, while NATO, he argues, is not a party to the conflict. The Secretary General of the military bloc also did not rule out the supply of F-16 fighters to Ukraine. Despite Washington’s initial refusal, no decision has yet been made, he said.
Earlier on February 18, Stoltenberg said that a Russian victory in the Ukrainian conflict would be “extremely dangerous” for NATO, so it is necessary to continue to support Ukraine. The secretary general also believes that the countries of the alliance should prepare for confrontation with Russia: modernize their own armies, strengthen relations between European countries and the United States, and generally strengthen the “resilience” of Western society.
After the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine in February 2022, the EU countries, the USA, the UK, and others imposed new sanctions on the industry and economy of Russia. In particular, they began to provide military istance to the armed forces of Ukraine. The Russian authorities have repeatedly criticized the supply of weapons to Kyiv. They also noted that Western countries thus become a party to the conflict.
On March 20, the EU representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell, said that the EU member states agreed on a plan worth 2 billion euros, according to which the armed forces of Ukraine will receive 1 million artillery shells over the next 12 months.