War between Russia and Ukraine could last for years, Western leaders say

Two senior Western leaders have renewed warnings that the war in Ukraine could last for years and that the country’s allies should prepare to support it in a longer battle against Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a German newspaper that the Western military alliance “must not stop supporting Ukraine. Although the costs are high, not only for military support, but also because of rising energy and food prices.”

These costs were no comparison “with the price that Ukrainians have to pay every day with many lives,” he told Bild am Sonntag in comments posted online late Saturday.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Ukraine’s allies must ensure that it “has the strategic stamina to survive and eventually win” over Russian forces.

“I am afraid we will have to brace ourselves for a long war as Putin resorts to an exhaustion campaign and tries to dismantle Ukraine by sheer brutality,” Mr Johnson wrote in The Sunday Times of London.

Ukraine is facing an increasingly difficult battle in its east, with Russia using long-range artillery to bomb cities and military positions. Ukrainian officials have complained that advanced weapons from their allies are arriving too slowly to overthrow Russia’s firepower, and that as many as 200 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed daily.

Mr. Stoltenberg said that Ukrainian forces fought bravely and that with the advent of more modern weapons they would be able to push Russian troops out of the eastern Donbas region.

Johnson said the Allies also needed to step up efforts to ensure that Ukrainian forces knew how to operate the advanced equipment and that Britain hoped to train “up to 10,000 soldiers every 120 days”, although he did not join. details.

NATO defense ministers met last week to discuss more support for Ukraine, and the United States led a separate collection of countries providing military assistance to Ukraine. The United States said it would provide an additional $ 1 billion in weapons and aid, which included an advanced U.S. missile system, anti-ship missile launchers, more long-range artillery and more ammunition for howitzers.

NATO members will meet in Madrid for two days from 29 June to address security issues and the Alliance’s strategic direction for the next decade. The document coming out of that meeting will deal not only with Russia but also China for the first time, Mr Stoltenberg said.

He also said that NATO took seriously the concerns of the Turkish government about Sweden’s and Finland’s applications to join NATO, but offered no details on a possible solution. Turkey has said it believes Sweden and Finland are too sympathetic to Kurdish groups they see as terrorists. It has complicated the candidates’ prospects of joining NATO, which operates by consensus.

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