Nato chief: Putin is failing in Ukraine, while Ukraine has the momentum

Nato will step up and sustain its support for Ukraine, which has the momentum and continues to make significant gains, while Putin is failing in Ukraine, the Alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of an October 12 and 13 meeting of Nato defence ministers.

“We will review our progress on strengthening Nato’s deterrence and defence,” Stoltenberg said.

“We will further increase the protection of our critical infrastructure, in light of the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines,” Stoltenberg said.

He said that Ukraine has the momentum, and continues to make significant gains, “while Russia is increasingly resorting to horrific and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and critical infrastructure”.

“President Putin is failing in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. “His attempted annexations, partial mobilisation, and reckless nuclear rhetoric represent the most significant escalation since the start of the war.”

Stoltenberg said that “Nato is not party to the conflict, but our support is playing a key role” in helping Ukraine defend itself and liberate territory.

“President Putin’s veiled nuclear threats are dangerous and irresponsible. Russia knows that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” he said.

“We are closely monitoring Russia’s nuclear forces. We have not seen any changes in Russia’s posture. But we remain vigilant.”

“Following the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, we have further enhanced our vigilance across all domains,” Stoltenberg said.

“We have doubled our presence in the Baltic and North Seas. To over 30 ships. Supported by maritime patrol aircraft and undersea capabilities.”

A Nato statement said that ministers will agree measures to further strengthen Nato’s deterrence and defence, by increasing stockpiles of munitions and equipment, providing industry the long-term demand they need to boost production through the Nato defence planning process, and increasing resilience and the protection of critical infrastructure.

“We have a difficult winter ahead. So it is even more important that North America and Europe continue to stand united in support of Ukraine and in defence of our people,” Stoltenberg said.

On October 12, the US-led Ukraine Defence Contact Group will meet at Nato.

Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov will update Nato defence ministers on the latest developments on the ground and Ukraine’s urgent needs for the winter.

Stoltenberg welcomed “the recent announcements by Allies to provide more advanced air defence systems and other capabilities, and I look forward to further deliveries.”

On October 13, Stoltenberg will chair a meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group to discuss Russia’s dangerous nuclear rhetoric and the role of Nato’s nuclear capability in preserving peace and deterring aggression, Nato said.

Next week, Nato will hold its long-planned deterrence exercise, Steadfast Noon, “this is routine training, which happens every year to keep our deterrent safe, secure and effective,” Stoltenberg said.

(Photo of Stoltenberg: Nato)

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