Russia Ukraine conflict

Russia’s war could last for years as Putin still wants ‘whole of Ukraine’: NATO chief

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NATO has seen “no indication” that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s goal of controlling the “whole of Ukraine” has changed, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, warning that the war could last for years.

“We have seen no indication that President Putin has changed his ambition to control the whole of Ukraine and also to rewrite the international order. So, we need to be prepared for the long haul,” Stoltenberg said before a meeting in Brussels of foreign ministers of NATO allies.

Stoltenberg's remarks come as Russian forces withdrew from the capital Kyiv and prepared to redeploy to focus on the east of Ukraine.

He added: “We need to support Ukraine, sustain our sanctions, and strengthen our defenses and our deterrence, because this can last for a long time, and we need to be prepared for that.”

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“We have to be realistic and realize that this may last for a long time, for many months, for even years. And that's the reason why we need also to be prepared for the long haul. Both when it comes to supporting Ukraine, sustaining sanctions, and strengthening our defenses.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been calling for tanks and fighter jets alongside the defense systems the West has already provided.

The NATO chief said: “I will not go into all details, so exactly what kind of weapons equipment allies are providing, but I can say that the totality of what Allies are doing is significant. And that includes also some heavier systems combined with lighter systems.”

Europe’s security

Stoltenberg described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “wakeup call” and said that NATO has started a re-evaluation process to strengthen its deterrence plans to reinforce Europe’s security.

“I also believe that regardless of when the war ends, this has long term implications for our security, because we have seen the brutality. We have seen the willingness by President Putin to use military force to reach his objectives. And that has changed the security reality in Europe for many, many years,” he said.

He added: “So therefore, we have started the process in NATO, we have tasked our military commanders to provide options for the political leaders to take decisions on how to reset our deterrence and defense for the long term.”

Read more:

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