24 Feb 2024, 15:48

Don't lose heart': NATO chief tells Ukraine and allies

BRUSSELS, Belgium, Feb 24, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on 
Saturday urged Ukraine and its allies not to "lose heart" as Russian 
President Vladimir Putin presses his bloody offensive two years into the war. 

"The situation on the battlefield remains extremely serious. President 
Putin's aim to dominate Ukraine has not changed, and there are no indications 
that he is preparing for peace," Stoltenberg said in a recorded message to 
mark the second anniversary of the invasion. 

"But we must not lose heart. Ukraine has demonstrated remarkable skill and 
fierce determination again and again."

The second anniversary of the invasion comes as Ukraine's outgunned troops 
are struggling to hold the front line and doubts swirl over future support 
from the United States.

Stoltenberg pointed to recent promises of military aid from NATO states 
"worth billions of dollars". 

"These cover key capabilities like artillery ammunition, air defence, and 
combat boats. As well as F-16 equipment and spare parts, drones, and demining 
"More support is on the way."

Stoltenberg said Putin had started his war to close the door to eventual NATO 
membership for Kyiv. 

"But he has achieved the exact opposite: Ukraine is now closer to NATO than 
ever before," he said. 

"Ukraine will join NATO. It is not a question of if, but of when. As we 
prepare you for that day, NATO will continue to stand with Ukraine. For your 
security, and for ours."

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