NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday that the Western military alliance is ready to back Ukraine in its war against Russia for years to come.
“We need to be prepared for the long term,” Stoltenberg said in Brussels. “There is absolutely the possibility that this war will drag on and last for months and years.”
Stoltenberg said that part of NATO’s plan for long-term support includes training Ukraine to use Western military equipment, as opposed to the Soviet-designed arms Ukrainian forces use now.
“NATO allies are preparing to provide support over a long period of time and also help Ukraine to transit, move from old Soviet-era equipment to more modern NATO-standard weapons and systems that will also require more training,” he said.
The US and its NATO allies have made it increasingly clear that they don’t think the war in Ukraine will be ending anytime soon. President Biden asked Congress for $33 billion in new aid for Ukraine on Thursday, including $20.4 billion for military aid, and said the massive package “begins the transition to longer-term security assistance.”
While pouring weapons into Ukraine and escalating sanctions on Russia, the US and most NATO members don’t appear to be interested in pursuing a diplomatic solution to end the fighting. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the US’s top diplomat, hasn’t spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov since February 15.
Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said some NATO member states want the war in Ukraine to last longer to hurt Russia. “There are countries within NATO who want the war to continue,” Cavusoglu said. “They want Russia to become weaker.”
Earlier this week, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that one of Washington’s goals in Ukraine is to see a “weakened” Russia.