“War can last for years,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday. “We must not give up on supporting Ukraine. Even if the costs are high, not only for military support, but also for rising energy and food prices,” added the head of the military alliance.
Stoltenberg stressed that no financial cost compares to the suffering on Ukraine’s front line and that if Russia achieves its goals as it did with the annexation of Crimea in 2014, “the price will be even greater” for the West.
The UK Ministry of Defense also reported this Sunday, in the daily assessment of the conflict, that, after almost four months of fighting, troops on both sides are defecting and rebelling against the orders of officers.
According to the statement, the defections happen mainly in the Ukrainian troops, but the Russians also show disturbance. “There are cases of entire Russian units refusing orders and there are armed clashes between officers and their troops,” the British authorities pointed out.
A report by the Institute for the Study of War, released by the Ukrainian military intelligence service, revealed the contents of intercepted phone calls. According to the Ukrainian body, Russian soldiers complain about conditions on the front line, poor equipment and lack of personnel.
Zelensky urges greater support for European allies
On a trip to Kiev last Friday (17), British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that, at this time of fatigue for Ukrainian troops, is when the country most needs military support. He also said that a ceasefire would only be of interest to Russia. “It would be a catastrophe if Putin won,” the British prime minister said.
Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also received a visit from French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Since the beginning of the war, Zelensky has asked for greater support from these countries.
Conflict intensifies in eastern Ukraine
The conflict remains heavy in Severodonetsk, a key city in eastern Ukraine, and in Luhansk, in disputed Donbas. “The enemy does 24/7 aerial reconnaissance with drones, bombing and quickly adapting to our changes,” Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said via Telegram.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Russian forces and separatists took control of Metolkine, a settlement east of Severodonetsk, on Sunday.
On Saturday (18), the Russian news agency Sputnik said that, since the beginning of the conflict, 1.936 million people have been evacuated from Ukraine from “dangerous areas” to Russian territory, 307,000 of them minors.
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