Prep for ‘long haul’ in Ukraine ‘war of attrition:’ NATO chief
Washington, June 2 (EFE).- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Thursday said the Ukraine conflict had become “a war of attrition,” and the world must prepare for “the long haul” before its end at a negotiating table.
Speaking at the White House after meeting with US President Joe Biden, Stoltenberg said it was up to Ukraine alone to decide what to negotiate over when that time came, and NATO’s obligation was to help Kyiv defend its sovereignty.
He said the Ukrainians were “paying a high price for defending their own country,” but Russia was “taking high casualties.”
“We just have to be prepared for the long haul. What we see is that this war has now become a war of attrition,” said the head of the US-led transatlantic military alliance.
Stoltenberg also met Vice President Harris and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan at the White House ahead of the June 29-30 NATO summit in Madrid.
The NATO chief said the planned summit in the Spanish capital “takes place at a pivotal time for our security” in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“We will make sure that NATO continues to adapt to a more competitive world, with strategic competition and where we see the impact on our security from authoritarian powers like Russia and China,” he said.
Stoltenberg recalled that Russian President Vladimir Putin attacked Ukraine because he “wanted less NATO.
“But he is getting more NATO, with more NATO presence in the eastern part of the alliance and also with more members,” he said.
He referred to Finland and Sweden applying for membership to the military bloc, saying “they are historic decisions” that will “strengthen NATO and strengthen our transatlantic bond.”
However, he noted concerns flagged by Turkey over Sweden and Finland joining the alliance.
“When an ally, Turkey, raises concerns, then we have to do what we always do in NATO and that is to sit down, address those concerns and find a united way forward,” Stoltenberg said.
“That is exactly what we are doing now. We are in close contact with Ankara, with the political leadership there. I have spoken to President (Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan and am in very close contact with Sweden and Finland.”
A White House statement said Biden conveyed his “strong support for efforts” by Stoltenberg to facilitate a rapid accession process “that addresses the security concerns of all allies.”
“The leaders discussed the implications of Russia’s war on Ukraine for transatlantic security and the importance of strengthening NATO’s deterrence and defense, in addition to ensuring NATO is properly resourced to address a wide range of challenges, from cyber to climate change.” EFE