On Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance must be prepared to support Ukraine for the “long haul.”
“We just have to be prepared for the long haul,” Stoltenberg said. “Because what we see is that this war has now become a war of attrition.”
Over three months into the war, the military situation is not looking good for Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday that Russia and the Donbas separatists control about 20% of Ukraine’s territory, including the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow took in 2014.
Zelensky also said this week that between 60 and 100 Ukrainian soldiers are dying each day. Stoltenberg said that Ukrainians are “paying a high price for defending their own country on the battlefield, but also we see that Russia is taking high casualties.”
Stoltenberg’s comments came after a meeting with President Biden. Both the NATO chief and Biden have reiterated this week that they don’t seek direct war with Russia, but Western military aid and other support for Ukraine continues to escalate, which risks provoking Moscow.
Neither Stoltenberg nor Biden have shown interest in pushing for a negotiated solution to end the fighting and have made clear that they believe arming Ukraine will give them more leverage in potential talks.
“Most wars — also, most likely this war — will at some stage end at the negotiating table, but what we know is that what happens around the negotiating table is very closely linked to the situation on the ground, on the battlefield,” Stoltenberg said.
The US announced Wednesday a new $700 million weapons package for Ukraine, including High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, known as HIMARS, which are capable of striking targets up to 50 miles away.