NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that the Western military alliance should be ready for bad news from the Ukrainian front as Kyiv continues to defend against Russia’s all-out invasion.
“Wars develop in phases,” Stoltenberg said in an interview Saturday with German broadcaster ARD. “We have to support Ukraine in both good and bad times,” he said.
“We should also be prepared for bad news,” Stoltenberg added, without being more specific.
His comments come as Western allies debate over ammunition and financial aid for Ukraine, and as Moscow boosts its troop levels. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Friday to increase the number of soldiers by some 170,000 to a total of 1.3 million.
The front lines have moved little in recent months despite Kyiv’s counteroffensive during the summer. But the Ukrainians have used cruise missiles to push back the Russian fleet in the Black Sea and have caused damage deep in Russian territory
“These are big victories even though they haven’t been able to move the front line,” Stoltenberg said in the interview.
Stoltenberg called on NATO’s members to ramp up the production of ammunition, bemoaning the fragmented state of Europe’s defense industry.
“We’re not able to work as closely together as we should,” he said, urging governments to look beyond their national interests and see the big picture.
A victory for Putin would not only be a tragedy for Ukraine but it would also present a danger for the rest of the allies, Stoltenberg said. “The more we support the Ukraine, the faster the war will end.”