Jens Stoltenberg has said that the conflict in Ukraine will not end until Russia “lays down its weapons”
Jens Stoltenberg addresses a press conference on Sweden’s application to join NATO at the start of a NATO Summit in Vilnius, LIthuania, July 10, 2023 © AFP / Petras Malukas
The West must prepare for “a long war” in Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declared on Sunday. Despite claiming to want a “quick peace” in Ukraine, Stoltenberg insisted that he still supports President Vladimir Zelensky’s goal of a military victory over Russia.
“Most wars last longer than expected when they first begin,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with Germany’s Funke media group. “Therefore we must prepare ourselves for a long war in Ukraine.”
According to media reports over the last two months, Western officials and military planners have conceded that Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive against Russian forces is unlikely to succeed, leaving the front lines mostly unchanged as winter sets in.
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukraine has lost upwards of 71,000 men since the counteroffensive began in June. Despite this stark attrition rate – with some units losing 90% of their manpower, according to Ukrainian sources, Stoltenberg insisted that NATO will continue to push for a military, not a diplomatic, solution.