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NATO chief says Russia can't 'wait out' alliance in Ukraine

May 31, 2024

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has called for Kyiv's allies to maintain current levels of aid at a meeting in Prague. US Secretary of State Blinken also confirmed Washington authorized Ukraine to strike within Russia.

A German Leopard tank seen during a NATO military exercise
A German Leopard tank seen during a NATO military exercise Image: Kay Nietfeld/dpa/picture alliance

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday called for members of the military alliance to maintain current levels of aid for Ukraine as Russia continues its invasion.

He made the comments in the Czech capital, Prague, following an informal meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

What did Stoltenberg say about Ukraine aid?

Stoltenberg said that NATO will take on a greater role in coordinating the provision of military aid to Kyiv and the training of Ukrainian forces.

He argued that such a move will "provide more predictability for Kyiv and address both immediate and longer-term needs."

The NATO chief pointed to the fact that members of the alliance are Ukraine's biggest supporters, saying that "practically all military aid to Ukraine — 99% — comes from NATO allies."

He called for NATO member states to commit to a long-term financial pledge in order to make clear to Moscow that Ukraine will continue to receive support.

"Russia must understand that it cannot wait us out," he said.

Stoltenberg: 'Self-defense is not escalation'


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He said that NATO members must maintain "at least" current levels of support "for as long as necessary."

Western analysts have warned that the conflict has turned into a war of attrition, with Moscow hoping to defeat Ukraine by waiting for Western support to wane.

Blinken confirms US permission for Ukrainian strikes in Russia

Also after talks in Prague, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that Washington had authorized Ukraine to use American weapons to strike Russian territory.

Blinken said the change in policy comes as the US adjusts and adapts its strategy on the battleground due to recent developments, pointing to Moscow's recent attacks on Ukraine's second most populous city of Kharkiv, which lies near the border with Russia.

Fighter jets flying in Russian air space have been supporting the Kharkiv offensive by moving glide bombs into Ukraine.

During his statement on Friday, Stoltenberg dismissed Russian warnings that allowing Ukraine to hit within Russia would lead to an escalation of the conflict.

"This is nothing new," Stoltenberg said. "It has … been the case for a long time that every time NATO allies are providing support to Ukraine, President Putin is trying to threaten us to not do that," he said.

"And escalation — well, Russia has escalated by invading another country."

"Ukraine has the right for self-defense, we have the right to help Ukraine uphold the right for self-defense, and that does not make NATO allies a party to the conflict," he stressed.

Blinken asked by DW about China's support for Russia


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sdi/wmr (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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