NATO Secretary General insists on increasing support for Ukraine

NATO should support Ukraine in both good and bad times, says NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. He also stressed the importance of increasing ammunition production in his interview with the German public TV channel ARD.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has stressed that the allies should continue to support Ukraine in its defensive war against Russian aggression.

Supporting Ukraine is in NATO’s interests – Stoltenberg

According to the NATO Secretary General, supporting Ukraine is in the interests of the defense alliance itself. “We need to understand that if president (Russian dictator – ed.) Putin wins, Ukraine will face a tragedy. But it will also be dangerous for us. So it is in our own interest that Ukraine survives,” Stoltenberg said.

In addition, Stoltenberg pointed out the importance of the allies’ readiness to support Ukraine in both good and bad times. “Additionally, we must be prepared for unfavorable developments. The course of war is not a steady but a changing process. We must support Ukraine in both good and bad times. The current war is a war of attrition, a battle for efficiency, a battle for logistics,” the NATO chief explained.

Stoltenberg commented on Ukraine’s summer counter-offensive

Answering the journalist’s question about the lack of significant success during the Ukrainian counter-offensive and the possible deterioration of the situation for Ukraine, Stoltenberg did not speculate, limiting himself to an argument: “The course of a war is difficult to plan.”

In addition, Stoltenberg does not believe that the Ukrainian Defense Forces have achieved success during the counter-offensive. “The Ukrainians have been able to inflict heavy losses on Russian troops by striking deep behind enemy lines with cruise missiles, destroying planes and helicopters, and pushing the Russian Black Sea Fleet back into the eastern part of the Black Sea,” the NATO Secretary General said. “This means that they can hold the maritime corridor, and ships can once again transport grain from Ukraine through the Black Sea. These are significant successes, even if the front line has not been moved,” Stoltenberg said.

Need to increase the production of weapons and ammunition

At the same time, the NATO Secretary General pointed out the urgent need to increase the production of ammunition and weapons in European countries. Against this background, Stoltenberg criticized narrow national interests in European arms policy. “We are not able to work together as closely as we should,” he said. Against this background, the official called for overcoming the problem of fragmentation in the European defense industry. It is about the self-interest of arms manufacturers and jobs in the industry. However, the bigger picture and collective interest are important, Stoltenberg said.

As an example of the need for improvement, the NATO Secretary General cited the production of ammunition, which is currently receiving special attention due to the high demand from Ukraine. He emphasized the need to prevent increased demand for ammunition from automatically driving up prices. Instead, it is necessary to increase supply to increase deliveries, Stoltenberg insisted.

EU’s challenge of increasing ammunition production

In 2024, the EU defense industry must meet the challenge of increasing its ammunition production capacity to 1 million rounds per year, von der Leyen added.

This goal is unrelated to the EU’s plan to provide Ukraine with 1 million artillery shells and missiles within a year, a goal that German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and other officials say is unlikely to be met.

As the EU has promised to send one million shells by March 2024 to Ukraine and already struggles to meet this commitment, there is another critical reason to replenish weapons and military equipment stocks.

Read also: European Commissioner estimated when EU will deliver 1 million shells to Ukraine

EU’s military aid to Ukraine

Last week, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that the European Union should consider Ukraine’s military needs when determining the future strategy of the EU defense industry. Von der Leyen said that Ukraine should be integrated into EU defense programs to help meet its needs in the war against Russian invasion.

EU’s plan to provide €20 billion military aid to Ukraine

The EU’s initial plan to provide €20 billion military aid to Ukraine over four years to pay for weapons and ammunition is at risk of falling through as some member states, including Germany, have been unable to agree on the terms. Instead, the EU member states hope to at least agree on €5 billion for next year, with commitments for further support after that.

Ukraine needs military and financial aid as it fights the Russian invasion and the war continues. Weapons supply help the Ukrainian Armed Forces repel Russian invading troops and push them out from the occupied territories.

Ukraine’s fight against Russia has taught the EU the need to modernize its military technology and manufacture advanced technologies, such as drones and electronic warfare, to ensure defense capabilities against possible adversaries.

The ongoing Russia’s war against Ukraine, aggressive rhetoric, and nuclear blackmail do not exclude the possibility of a potential Russian invasion of EU countries, which is why the EU needs to strengthen its defense capabilities.

Read more in our article: Will EU states approve €20 military aid plan for Ukraine?

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