NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday urged alliance members to continue funding the proxy war in Ukraine amid growing signs that Western support for the conflict is waning.
“We just have to stay the course. This is about also about our security interests,” Stoltenberg told reporters ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.
The NATO chief acknowledged that the battle lines have barely moved in the past year as Ukraine’s counteroffensive has failed and justified continuing support based on the damage being done to Russian forces.
“We have also to take into account that even though the frontline has not moved so much, the Ukrainians have been able to inflict heavy losses on the Russian forces with deep strike capabilities, with cruise missiles delivered by NATO Allies,” Stoltenberg said.
However, the Ukrainian side is facing a manpower shortage as it has taken heavy casualties. The average age of a Ukrainian soldier is now 43, as many young Ukrainians have been killed or maimed in the war.
An aide to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently told Time Magazine that even if the West provided Kyiv with all of the weapons it needs, Ukraine doesn’t have the men to use them. The same report quoted another aide who said Zelensky “deludes himself” into thinking Ukraine can win the war. “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that,” the aide said.
Despite the bleak picture for Ukraine, Stoltenberg and the Biden administration want to keep fueling the war. President Biden is looking for $61 billion to fund the war for another year, but it’s not clear how much Congress will authorize.