NATO issues downbeat update on Ukraine

The situation is “extremely difficult” so Kiev needs more weapons, Jens Stoltenberg has said

Russia is advancing on many parts of the front in Ukraine while Kiev’s big offensive did not deliver the desired results, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday in Davos.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum panel titled ‘Securing an Insecure World’, Stoltenberg described the situation on the battlefield as “extremely difficult.”

“The Russians are now pushing on many frontlines. And of course the big offensive that the Ukrainians launched last summer didn’t give the results we all hoped for,” he told WEF President Borge Brende. 

“Russia is pushing hard. And this is serious and we should never underestimate Russia,” he added.

Stoltenberg insisted that there was also cause for optimism, because Kiev wasn’t taken within a few days as “most [Western] experts believed” in 2022. He described it as a “big win” for Ukraine that it “has survived as a sovereign independent nation.”

According to Stoltenberg, Russia has already lost the war because it wanted to “control Ukraine” and the Ukrainians now “want to be part of the West, of the European Union and NATO, and they’re closer to us than ever before.”

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NATO issues downbeat update on Ukraine
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Asked about the NATO strategy going forward, Stoltenberg repeated the thesis that the West needs to keep propping up Kiev until Moscow submits.

“At some stage Russia will understand that they’re paying a too high price and sit down and agree to some kind of just peace, but we need to stand by Ukraine,” he told the crowd in Davos. “If we want that to happen, a peaceful just end to this war, the way to get there is more weapons to Ukraine.” 

By Russian estimates, the US and its allies have poured over $200 billion worth of weapons, ammunition and equipment into Ukraine over the past two years. By their own admission, the US and the UK helped plan last summer’s offensive in Zaporozhye that utterly failed to break the Russian defenses. Kiev is now struggling to replace its losses, issuing a call for drafting 500,000 more troops.

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