NATO chief suggests ‘weapons for peace’ in Ukraine
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Western military aid to Ukraine is what is needed to bring peace to the Eastern European country in the shortest time possible. He claimed that Russia will only agree to peace talks when it faces a situation in which it cannot achieve its goals militarily.
In an interview with German news outlet DPA, parts of which were published on Friday, Stoltenberg said: “It may sound paradoxical, but military support for Ukraine is the quickest way to peace.”
The Western military bloc’s chief claimed that for the conflict to end, Russian President Vladimir Putin has to come to the conclusion that his forces are unable to take over Ukraine. It is only then that the Kremlin would be ready to negotiate a settlement.
On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov rejected out of hand a ten-point “peace formula” floated by Ukrainian president Zelensky that envisages the withdrawal of Russian troops from Crimea, Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions.
Lavrov told reporters that Moscow will “not talk to anyone” under the conditions previously proposed by Ukrainian president.
He stressed, however, that the Kremlin has not refused in principle to engage in negotiations with Ukraine, adding that Kiev must first recognize the new reality on the ground.
Stoltenberg also defended recent Ukrainian strikes on military targets deep inside Russian territory. He argued that “every country has the right to defend itself,” insisting that the attacks were justified.
When asked whether Ukraine should be given intermediate-range ballistic missiles, Stoltenberg revealed that individual NATO member states and Ukraine are engaged in dialogue regarding specific systems, which he declined to name. He also pointed out that several members of the military bloc have already supplied Kiev with weapon systems that have a longer range, such as US-made M142 HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems and drones.
On Thursday night, US President Joe Biden signed off on a massive $1.7 trillion spending bill, which earmarks $45 billion for “crucial assistance to Ukraine.” Of this amount, $9 billion will go directly toward training and equipping the Ukrainian military.
Russia insists that Western weapon deliveries only serve to prolong the conflict, warning Ukraine’s backers that these shipments could potentially result in an all-out military confrontation between Russia and NATO.