NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg warned that the war in Russia-invaded Ukraine is not going to end very soon. In an interview released on Sunday by the German press group Funke and quoted by international media, he said that „Most wars last longer than expected when they first begin” and concluded that „Therefore we must prepare ourselves for a long war in Ukraine.”
Stoltenberg also argued that „We all want a quick peace. At the same time, we must recognize that if President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainians stop fighting, their country will no longer exist. If President Putin and Russia stop fighting, we will have peace.”
As for Kyiv’s plans to join the North-Atlantic Alliance, its chief says it is just a matter of time before Ukraine joins the Alliance. „When the war ends, Ukraine will need safety guarantees. Otherwise, history could repeat itself,” Jens Stoltenberg warned.
In this summer’s NATO summit in Vilnius, the NATO leaders agreed that Ukraine would be able to join, provided that certain conditions were met, related to democracy and the rule of law. But Kyiv struggles with recurrent scandals, some of them concerning the very equipment of the Army fighting the Russians or the widespread bribery system in military commissariats, whereby men avoid recruitment.
Meanwhile, the long-discussed and awaited Ukrainian counteroffensive, launched this summer, is much slower than Kyiv officials and their Western supporters were hoping. Every couple of weeks, Ukraine announces the freeing of some village, usually completely deserted and obliterated by the Russian occupants.
On the other hand, Russia’s great-power ego and territorial appetite are far from being satisfied. Moscow only has some control over four Ukrainian regions: Donetsk and Luhanks in the east, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south, in addition to the Crimean peninsula annexed in 2014. It is too little compared to what Putin told his men on February 24, 2022, when he ordered the invasion.
Both the aged and bitter Kremlin chief and his close aides, who keep echoing the same nonsensical claims of de-Nazifying a Ukrainian state led by a Jewish president, seem hardly resigned to not seeing their tanks entering Kyiv.
Moreover, the Russian economy seems to withstand the successive waves of Western sanctions, and to be able to further finance the invasion. So chances are the fighting will continue, even though Russian experts themselves have calculated that two months of war equate the Russian Federation’s healthcare budget for the entire year 2023.
(Bogdan Matei, Radio Romania International)