Europe, Russia-Ukraine War

NATO should support Ukraine ‘as long as it takes’: NATO chief

New NATO plans on strengthening defense on eastern flank top up reforms that began in 2014

Agnes Szucs   | 22.06.2022
NATO should support Ukraine ‘as long as it takes’: NATO chief

BRUSSELS 

It is a moral duty for NATO to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia as long as it takes, the alliance’s secretary-general said on Wednesday. 

Speaking at an event organized by the Politico news outlet, Jens Stoltenberg warned that Russia’s war on Ukraine may last up to years and “we need to be prepared for the long haul.”

“We have a political and a moral obligation to provide substantial support for as long as it takes,” he pointed out, explaining that NATO has taken “some kind of responsibility” when it started to help Ukraine.

“You cannot stop in the middle of that effort because they are in a middle of a war,” he asserted.

Stoltenberg also explained that it is not on Feb. 24 that Russia launched the war but in 2014 when it annexed Crimea and supported separatist movements in eastern Ukraine.

So, NATO began to support the Ukrainian army with training and equipment, and it also initiated a “substantial adaption” of the alliance itself to face the new security challenges, he added.

The new plans on strengthening NATO’s defense and deterrence in the eastern flank will only add to this process, Stoltenberg stressed.

“We will adapt the NATO force structure with more forces at high readiness,” he said, explaining that NATO will deploy more battle groups and more force in air, sea, and cyber defenses, as well as place pre-positioned equipment and weapons stockpiles.

“For the first time since the Cold War, we will have pre-assigned forces to defend specific allies” so that NATO could act more and much faster if needed, Stoltenberg underlined. 

NATO leaders are expected to approve the new plans at their summit on June 29-30 in Madrid.

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