NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned that the Western military alliance should be prepared for bad news from the Ukrainian front as kyiv continues to defend itself 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 must also be prepared for bad news,” Stoltenberg added, without being more specific.
His comments come as Western allies debate ammunition and financial aid for Ukraine, and as Moscow increases its troop levels. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Friday to increase the number of troops by about 170,000, to a total of 1.3 million.
The front lines have moved little in recent months despite kyiv’s counteroffensive over the summer. But the Ukrainians have used cruise missiles to push back the Russian fleet in the Black Sea and caused damage deep inside Russian territory.
“These are great victories even though they have not been able to move the front line,” Stoltenberg said in the interview.
Stoltenberg called on NATO members to increase ammunition production, lamenting the fragmented state of the European defense industry.
“We can’t work as closely as we should,” he said, urging governments to look beyond their national interests and see the bigger picture.
A victory for Putin would not only be a tragedy for Ukraine but would also present a danger to the rest of the allies, Stoltenberg said. “The more we support Ukraine, the faster the war will end.”