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NATO Chief warns world to prepare for long war in Ukraine

The secretary general of the NATO military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, has warned the world there will be no swift end to the Ukraine war. His comments came as Kyiv pushes on with its counteroffensive against Russia.

By Stefan J. Bos

In his arguably most concrete comments to date, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reminded reporters that most wars last longer than expected when they first begin. Therefore, in his words, "we must prepare ourselves for a long war in Ukraine."

Despite his military alliance providing Ukraine billions of dollars in military aid, critics say Kyiv made limited gains since launching its counteroffensive in June against entrenched Russian positions in the south and east.

However, in recent days, there have been daring Ukrainian attacks on the Crimean Peninsula, hitting Russian warships and missiles. And in separate remarks, Stoltenberg said that Ukraine's military tactics negatively impacted Russia's army. "The starting point is that the Russian army used to be the second strongest in the world. And now the Russian army is the second Ukraine," he explained cynically.

"And that's quite impressive," Stoltenberg continued. "That's the courage, the will, the commitment, the determination of the Ukrainian soldiers that they are making this possible," Stoltenberg noticed.

"When the [Russian] invasion happened, the full-scale invasion happened in February [2022], we were told by most experts that Kyiv would fall within days and Ukraine would fall within weeks. The Ukrainians proved them wrong," he added.        

Stoltenberg argued that their country would no longer exist if Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the Ukrainians stopped fighting.

He added that only if Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia lay down their weapons in his words, "we will have peace."

For now, the bloodshed continues, with hundreds of thousands of people believed to have been killed or injured since Russia's invasion began in February last year.

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17 September 2023, 16:13