Military support for Ukraine must be increased urgently in order for the country to resist Russia and come out of this war through negotiations as a sovereign nation, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with German newspaper Die Welt.
Evaluating the experience of the past six months since the start of the Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24, Stoltenberg emphasized that Russian President Vladimir Putin made a “big strategic mistake” and “failed.”
The Russian head of state expected to gain control over the neighboring country in a few days, but instead, a war of attrition, a struggle of logistics and willpower developed, in which an incredible amount of munitions, including artillery shells, is being used, said the NATO Secretary General.
Putin is focusing huge resources on the war, and the Ukrainians have the will to defend themselves. However, defense also requires tools, “and we have these tools,” Stoltenberg pointed out, adding: “I ask the NATO allies to support Ukraine with weapons more strongly and faster than before.”
He stated that NATO is not taking part in the conflict, but is helping Ukraine to assert its right to self-defense, which is enshrined in the UN Charter. He noted that the military alliance has been supporting the Ukrainian armed forces since 2014, when the Crimean peninsula belonging to Ukraine was annexed by Russia.
The success of the defense against the Russian attack launched half a year ago also depends entirely on Western military support, he added.
Maintaining Ukraine’s ability to defend itself is “our responsibility,” but it is “important not only for Ukraine, but for the whole of Europe” because if Putin wins, the world will become even more dangerous, and Western countries would be “more vulnerable,” as the Russian president would conclude that he could achieve anything through military force, Stoltenberg said.
The NATO chief added that Russia is also using energy as a weapon, especially against Germany and other NATO member states. Thus, Germans, like all other Europeans, are in for a “probably hard winter” with high energy prices and high inflation. The reason for these difficulties is “Putin’s brutal war,” said the NATO secretary general.
Stoltenberg said he believes the war will probably end with negotiations, and the outcome of the negotiations acceptable to Ukraine will largely be determined by its successes on the battlefield. Therefore, for the sake of a peaceful settlement that ensures the survival of Ukraine as a sovereign nation, “the best thing we can do is to give more military support, as much as possible, as quickly as possible and as soon as possible.”