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2 Jan, 2023 09:34

NATO warns of potential new Russian offensive in Ukraine

Military support for Kiev should be long-term, the bloc's secretary general said
NATO warns of potential new Russian offensive in Ukraine

The West needs to brace for a protracted conflict between Ukraine and Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday, insisting that arms shipments to Kiev must continue.

Stoltenberg told the BBC that Russia’s partial mobilization, launched in September, shows that Moscow has no plans to end the hostilities in the near future. “All that indicates that they are prepared to continue the war and also try to potentially launch a new offensive,” he claimed.

The head of the US-led military bloc also insisted that the West continues to provide arms and other forms of support to Ukraine. According to the secretary general, “that's the only way to convince Russia that they have to sit down and negotiate in good faith and respect Ukraine as a sovereign independent nation in Europe.”

"What we do know is that what Ukraine can achieve around that table is totally dependent on the strength on the battlefield," he stressed.

On Friday, Stoltenberg claimed that while “it may sound paradoxical,” Western military support for Ukraine is "the quickest way to peace.”

Following the start of Russia’s military operation in late February, Western countries have ramped up their weapons shipments to Ukraine, a move that has been condemned by Moscow. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that NATO was using the military potential of nearly all of its member states against Moscow in Ukraine. According to the president, efforts to undermine the Russian economy in the “sanctions war” over Ukraine have largely failed.

Earlier, he also accused the West of turning Ukraine into “a colony”, and using its people as “cannon fodder, a battering ram against Russia.”

At the same time, the Kremlin maintains it is open to talks with Ukraine, accusing Kiev of refusing to negotiate. However, Moscow has insisted that Kiev must “recognize the reality on the ground” as a prerequisite for any peace talks, including the new status of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye as parts of Russia.

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