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"We must prepare ourselves for a long war in Ukraine...": NATO Chief Stoltenberg
Kyiv: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has issued a sttern warning, stating that there will be no swift resolution to the war in Ukraine. In an interview published by Germany's Funke media group on Sunday, Stoltenberg emphasized the prolonged nature of the conflict as Kyiv continues its counteroffensive against Russia, Al Jazeera reported.
"Most wars last longer than expected when they first begin," Stoltenberg cautioned. "Therefore, we must prepare ourselves for a long war in Ukraine."
While expressing the collective hope for a quick peace, Stoltenberg also recognised the grim reality. He stated, "We are all wishing for a quick peace. But at the same time, we must recognize: if President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainians stop fighting, their country will no longer exist. If President (Vladimir) Putin and Russia lay down their weapons, we will have peace,” according to Al Jazeera.
Addressing Ukraine's aspirations to join the NATO alliance, Stoltenberg was unequivocal, "There is no doubt that Ukraine will eventually be in NATO."
The NATO Secretary-General has stepped up pressure on Germany to increase its defense spending.
He pointed out that during the Cold War era, when leaders like Konrad Adenauer and Willy Brandt were in power, defense spending accounted for between 3 per cent and 4 per cent of economic output. Stoltenberg noted that Norway, his native country, had similar levels of defense spending during that period. He urged a return to these levels, stating, "We managed it then, and we have to manage it again today."
Stoltenberg recalled the NATO summit held in Vilnius in July, which established 2 per cent of gross domestic product as "the minimum" target for military spending. He noted that Germany has yet to meet this target but expressed optimism about the country's progress, saying, "Germany is well on its way to reaching the NATO target,” as reported by Al Jazeera.
In a separate development, Zelenskyy expressed gratitude to 86 leading defence companies from 21 countries, confirming their participation in Ukraine's first Defence Industries Forum.
This forum, set to take place in October or November 2023, aims to enhance Ukraine's defence industry integration with NATO allies and other partners, bolster production capabilities, and establish high-tech partnerships.
Zelenskyy extended his appreciation to nations including Denmark, Norway, South Korea, Germany, and the United States for their contributions of military equipment to support Ukraine's security efforts, Al Jazeera reported.