Russia-Ukraine crisis: Nato warns of long war as Russian assaults follow EU boost for Kyiv

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made similar comments



Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg. (Photo: AFP)
Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg. (Photo: AFP)

By Reuters

Published: Sun 19 Jun 2022, 7:13 AM

The head of Nato said on Sunday the war in Ukraine could last years and Ukrainian forces faced intensified Russian assaults after the EU executive recommended that Kyiv should be granted the status of a candidate to join the bloc.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was cited by Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper as saying the supply of state-of-the-art weaponry to Ukrainian troops would increase the chance of liberating the eastern Donbas region from Russian control.

“We must prepare for the fact that it could take years. We must not let up in supporting Ukraine,” he said. “Even if the costs are high, not only for military support, also because of rising energy and food prices.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who visited Kyiv on Friday, made similar comments about the need to prepare for a long war in an op-ed for London’s Sunday Times newspaper.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday he stressed the need to avoid “Ukraine fatigue” and with Russian forces “grinding forward inch by inch”, for allies to show the Ukrainians they were there to support them for a long time.

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“Time is the vital factor,” Johnson said. “Everything will depend on whether Ukraine can strengthen its ability to defend its soil faster than Russia can renew its capacity to attack.”

Ukraine received a significant boost on Friday when the European Commission recommended that it be granted EU candidate status - something European Union countries are expected to endorse at a summit this week.

This would put Ukraine on course to realise an aspiration seen as out of reach before Russia’s February 24 attack, even if actual membership could take years.


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