|NATO is responsible for providing support to Ukraine|
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said his party anticipated a long-term conflict in Ukraine as the Russian invasion turned into a war of attrition. Speaking to the White House press after meeting with President Joe Biden on Thursday (06/02/2022), Stoltenberg said it was difficult to predict when and how the conflict would end. "War is inherently unpredictable," Stoltenberg said. "And because of that, we just have to be prepared for the long term because what we are seeing is that this war has now become a war of attrition where Ukraine pays a high price to defend their own country on the battlefield, but also where we see that Russia took many victims," he said.
He emphasized that it was NATO's responsibility to provide support to Ukraine, Al Jazeera reported. Stoltenberg said war or conflict would eventually end up at the negotiating table. In a statement, Stoltenberg praised the US for its support to Ukraine during the war. "President (Russia) Putin wanted less NATO and that's why he invaded Ukraine." "But he's got more NATO, with more NATO presence in the eastern part of the Alliance and also with more members," Stoltenberg said, quoted by Newsweek. He also considered the steps of Finland and Sweden to apply for membership in the alliance as a historic decision.
"Finland and Sweden as NATO members will strengthen NATO and also strengthen our transatlantic ties," Stoltenberg said.
But the pleas of the two Nordic countries were blocked by Turkey, because it was considered protecting a terrorist group banned by Ankara. It is known, new members can join if they get approval from all 30 NATO member countries. Apart from being seen as protecting terrorists, Turkey also objected because Poland and Sweden also restricted arms sales to Ankara in 2019 after Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Stoltenberg said the alliance was working to address Turkey's concerns and "find a common path forward". He also praised Ankara's role in NATO, calling it an "important ally".
The NATO chief stressed that the alliance does not want to escalate the conflict. He warned that a "full war" between NATO and Russia would result in more death and destruction. "We provide support to Ukraine, but we are not part of the conflict," he said. Stoltenberg said NATO allies had deployed troops and aid to countries near the east of Russia to send a message to Moscow against miscalculations about the alliance's willingness to defend its members.
"This is prevention. It is not to provoke conflict, but to prevent conflict," he told reporters. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian troops had occupied 20 percent of his territory. Zelensky on Thursday (06/02/2022) told the Luxembourg legislature that Moscow troops raided more than 3,600 settlements, with 1,000 of them being retaken. After withdrawing from the area around the capital Kyiv, Russian forces focused attacks on southern and eastern Ukraine, scoring a key military victory last month by capturing the port city of Mariupol. Reported by The Hill, Zelensky emphasized that although Friday (06/03/2022) marked the 100th day of the invasion, Ukraine had been fighting Russia for years since its troops entered the Donbas region in 2014.
He said nearly 12 million Ukrainians were internally displaced and more than 5 million had fled the country since Russia invaded in February.
It added that fighting was raging along a line of more than 1,000 kilometers from Kharkiv in the east to Mykolaiv in the south. Zelensky thanked the people of Luxembourg and his government for arms assistance to Ukraine.
"It's reminiscent of World War II, when Nazi aggression threatened the lives of entire nations," Zelensky said. "Therefore, we must significantly increase the pressure on Russia to stop this catastrophe and prevent such aggression in the future."