Although Russia is now concentrating its assault on eastern Ukraine, NATO has seen “no indication” that Russian President Vladimir Putin's aim of controlling the whole country has changed, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters before a meeting in Brussels of foreign ministers of NATO allies, Stoltenberg also warned the war in Ukraine could last for years.
“We have seen no indication that President Putin has changed his ambition to control the whole of Ukraine and also to rewrite the international order, so we need to be prepared for the long haul,” he said. “We have to be realistic and realize that this may last for a long time, for many months or even years.”
The foreign ministers of NATO countries are meeting Wednesday and Thursday to discuss ramping up support for Ukraine.
Kyiv has been calling for tanks and fighter jets on top of the defense systems already provided by the West.
“I will not go into all details of exactly what kind of weapons equipment allies are providing, but I can say the totality of what the allies are doing is significant, and that includes some heavier systems combined with lighter systems,” Stoltenberg said.
He warned the Ukraine war will have long term security implications for Europe regardless of when it ends.
“We have seen the willingness by President Putin to use military force to reach his objectives. And that has changed the security reality in Europe for many, many years," the secretary general said.