NATO chief warns Ukraine war could last ‘for years’

i24NEWS - AFP/Reuters

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 7, 2022.
AP Photo/Olivier MatthysNATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, April 7, 2022.

'We must not weaken in our support of Ukraine, even if the costs are high'

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview published on Sunday that the war in Ukraine could last “for years," urging Kyiv’s allies to not “weaken” in their support.   

“We must be prepared for this to last for years,” the NATO chief was quoted as saying by the German newspaper Bild

“We must not weaken in our support of Ukraine, even if the costs are high - not only in terms of military support but also because of rising energy and food prices,” he added. 

Stoltenberg stressed that the food and fuel costs were nothing compared to the ones paid daily by Ukrainians on the frontline, warning that "we would have to pay an even greater price" if Russian President Vladimir Putin were to achieve his goals in Ukraine.

The NATO chief has in the past week ramped up calls for alliance members to back Ukraine in its fight against Russia's invasion. Repeating his calls for NATO member nations to continue delivering weapons to Kyiv, Stoltenberg said the hardware support could increase "the likelihood of Ukraine being able to push Putin's troops out of the Donbas region." 

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who visited Kyiv on Friday, also warned against "Ukraine fatigue," saying allies must show the Ukrainians they were there to support them for a long time as Russian forces intensified their attack on eastern regions of the country with heavy artillery and rocket fire destroying entire cities and villages.  

Earlier on Friday, Ukraine received a significant boost when the European Commission recommended it for European Union candidate status. EU nations are expected to vote on the decision at a summit this week. 

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