Stoltenberg: Putin lost Ukraine forever, Russia suffered strategic defeat
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg believes that Ukraine has permanently left Russia's sphere of influence and will become a member of the EU and NATO
Stoltenberg said this in an interview with dpa, as quoted by Deutsche Welle.
"Putin has lost Ukraine forever," he said, adding that this is a major strategic defeat for Russia.
According to the NATO Secretary General, the purpose of Russia's full-scale invasion was Russian President Vladimir Putin's desire to prevent Ukraine's movement towards NATO and the European Union. However, as Stoltenberg noted, two years into the war, Kyiv is closer to NATO and the EU than ever before. The Alliance chief added that he is convinced: Ukraine will eventually achieve its goal of joining NATO.
Stoltenberg also mentioned the huge price Russia has to pay for its war against Ukraine. In addition to the loss of hundreds of aircraft, thousands of tanks and 300,000 soldiers, the war has caused inflation to rise and the standard of living of Russians to fall, and Russia is now more politically isolated than ever before.
At the same time, Jens Stoltenberg noted that one should not expect the war to end soon, given the developments. In particular, he pointed out that there are no signs of a change in Putin's course after his likely re-election in March.
"We have no indication that Putin will change his goals and his policy. He will continue to try to occupy more territory," Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg also stressed the need to continue to help Ukraine and called on allies to explore the possibility of providing more defence equipment by amending existing agreements with third countries and increasing production.
"Ukrainians have shown that they are capable of defending themselves, of fighting back, especially when they receive weapons from Germany and many other NATO countries," he added.
- Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico said he would veto Ukraine's accession to NATO, as he considers such a step "the beginning of World War III."