The war in Ukraine could go on for years, the NATO chief said in an interview on Sunday, raising questions of weak Allied support and tense morale among troops on both sides of the Russia-led conflict.
The NATO chief urged Western allies to maintain their support for Ukraine, “even if the cost is high, not only in terms of military aid, but also because of rising energy and food prices.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview published in the German weekly Bild am Sonntag, “No one knows” how long the war might last.
“We need to be prepared for this to go on for years,” he said.
British defense officials said the four-month battle is already testing the morale of Russian soldiers as well as Ukrainian fighters, with rebellions and rebellions against the officers’ orders.
Britain’s Defense Ministry said in its daily assessment of the war, “Combat units on both sides are committed to an intense battle in the Donbass and are probably experiencing variable morale.”
“Ukrainian forces have faced disappointment in recent weeks,” it said, adding: “Russian morale remains particularly troubled.”
“There continue to be cases of refusal of orders from entire Russian units and armed standoffs between officers and their soldiers,” the assessment said.
According to a report by the Institute for the Study of War, which released what the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate said, Russian troops complained about poor equipment, the condition of the front lines and a shortage of personnel.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned “Ukraine around the world is starting to feel a little tired” on Saturday, a day after making a surprise visit to Kyiv. Johnson met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and offered ongoing aid and military training.
Even Pope Francis, who has raised his voice against the weapons manufacturing, called for continued support for besieging Ukraine.
“Let’s not forget the people of Ukraine who died in this moment,” Francis told a crowd gathered in Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Square on Sunday.
The Pope asked his listeners to ask themselves: “What have I done for the people of Ukraine today?”
In eastern Ukraine, the main focus of Russia’s attacks for more than two months, heavy artillery was bombed north, east and south of the city of Svyarodonetsk by both sides, but with little change in the front lines, according to the UK Defense Ministry. he said .
Luhansk Governor Serhi Haidai said on Telegram: “It is a very difficult situation in Svyarodonetsk, where in the middle of the city the enemy is conducting aerial reconnaissance with drones round the clock, adjusting the fire, quickly adapting to our changes.” adjusting.”
Russia’s defense ministry said Russian and separatist forces had taken control of Metokine, a nearby settlement east of Svyarodonetsk.
About 33 miles southwest of the twin cities of Lysyhansk and Siervierodonetsk, Russian artillery was pounding the city of Bakhmut.
Still, residents were finding ways to live their daily lives, such as shopping in the recently reopened markets.
“In principle, it could be quiet in the morning,” said Bakhmut resident Oleg Drobelnikov. “The shelling starts around 7 or 8 in the evening.”
today’s fresh news
as it happens
Receive updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.
“You can buy food at small farmers’ markets,” said the teacher.
With institutions like schools still closed, he said, “there is no work here.”
In Germany, where Russian gas company Gazprom has cut its supplies, the country will limit the use of gas for electricity generation, amid concerns about shortages, Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Sunday.
Germany would try to make up for the shortfall by burning more coal, Habeck said, conceding that the choice to use more polluting fossil fuels was unfortunate.
“It is bitter, but in this situation it is necessary to reduce the use of gas,” he said.
In Italy, where Gazprom has also reduced its supply, a “restriction” on gas use may be necessary, but the country must make it through the winter with gas purchased from other sources, according to Italian energy giant ENI. chief said on Saturday.
news with wire services