Jens Stoltenberg warned that the conflict could last for months or even years.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that the alliance is ready to support Ukraine in its war with Russia, even if it takes years, adding that this support includes assistance to Kyiv in the transition from Soviet-era weapons to modern Western models and systems.
Stoltenberg said this immediately after the Kremlin’s statement that the supply of Western weapons to the forces of Ukraine poses a threat to the security of the entire European continent, which “provokes instability.”
“We need to prepare for a long–term conflict,” said the head of NATO, speaking at a youth forum in Brussels, “Undoubtedly, there is a possibility that this war will last for months or even years.”
Stoltenberg added that the West will continue to exert maximum pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin – through sanctions and military-economic assistance to Kyiv – in order to force Moscow to stop the invasion of Ukraine.
“NATO allies are preparing to provide support for a long period of time, as well as to help Ukraine in the transition from old Soviet equipment to more modern weapons and systems that meet NATO standards, which will require additional training,” the head of the North Atlantic Alliance explained.
The heavy weapons that NATO countries have sent to Ukraine so far: most of them were Soviet weapons, still part of the arsenals of Eastern European NATO member countries, but the United States and some other allies began to supply Kyiv with Western howitzers.
On Tuesday, Germany announced the shipment of Gepard tanks equipped with anti-aircraft guns to Ukraine, which was the first time Berlin approved the supply of heavy weapons to Kyiv.
Ukraine’s requests for the supply of heavy weapons intensified after Moscow shifted offensive operations to the Donbass with its predominantly flat, open terrain, which is considered more suitable for tank battles than the areas in the north around the capital Kiev, where most of the fighting previously took place.