Wed. May 29th, 2024

NATO chief admits sluggish support for Ukraine gives Putin chance to turn the screw

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May25,2024

Jens Stoltenberg Vladimir Putin

NATO director-general Jens Stoltenberg and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Image: GETTY)

NATO countries are failing to follow through on their pledge to supply Ukraine with weapons and other vital military equipment, handing Vladimir Putin’s Russia a battlefield advantage more than two years into his war, the alliance’s chief has claimed.

Jens Stoltenberg used a press conference in Kyiv to warn of “serious consequences” unless Volodymyr Zelensky’s outgunned forces are given the means to fight back against the invaders.

Mr Stoltenberg, standing alongside the Ukrainian President in the Ukrainian capital, said Russia was pressing its advantage while Kyiv’s depleted forces waited for supplies from the US and Europe.

He added: “Serious delays in support have meant serious consequences on the battlefield.”

Ukraine’s troops have struggled to fend off Russian advances on the battlefield, and were compelled to make a tactical retreat from three villages in the east, where the Kremlin’s forces have been making incremental gains, Ukraine‘s army chief Oleksandr Syrskyi said on Sunday. The Russian Defence Ministry yesterday claimed its forces had also taken the village of Semenivka.

Jens Stoltenberg and Volodymr Zelensky in Kyiv

Jens Stoltenberg and Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv (Image: GETTY)

Mr Stoltenberg added: “The lack of ammunition has allowed the Russians to push forward along the front line. Lack of air defence has made it possible for more Russian missiles to hit their targets, and the lack of deep strike capabilities has made it possible for the Russians to concentrate more forces.”

Kyiv’s Western partners have repeatedly promised to stand with Ukraine “for as long as it takes.”

However, vital US military help was held up for six months by political differences in Washington, and Europe’s military hardware production has not kept up with demand. Ukraine’s own manufacturing of heavy weapons is only now starting to gain traction.

Now, Ukraine and its Western partners are scrambling to deploy critical new military aid which can help check the slow and costly but steady Russian advance across eastern areas, as well as thwart drone and missile attacks.

Ukraine

Footage of the ‘Harry Potter’ castle in flames (Image: Ukraine’s State Emergency Service of Odesa region)

Mr Zelensky said new Western supplies have started arriving, but slowly.

He told reporters: “This process must be speeded up.”

Although the 1,000-kilometre (600-mile) front line has shifted little since early in the war, the Kremlin’s forces in recent weeks have edged forward, particularly in the Donetsk region, with sheer numbers and massive firepower used to bludgeon defensive positions.

Russia is also peppering cities across Ukraine with missiles, drones and bombs. At least four people were killed and 27 injured in a Russian missile strike on residential buildings and “civil infrastructure” in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odesa yesterday, regional governor Oleh Kiper announced on the Telegram messaging site.

Volodymyr Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky has said the process must be ‘speeded up’ (Image: GETTY)

A turreted Gothic-style building known locally as the “Harry Potter Castle,” was seen in flames after the strike.

Russia is a much bigger country than Ukraine, with far greater resources and has also received weapons support from Iran and North Korea, the US government says.

Drawn-out Ukrainian efforts to mobilise more troops, and the belated building of battlefield fortifications, are other factors undermining Ukraine’s war effort, say military analysts.

Nick Reynolds, a research fellow for land warfare at the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said the war “is still largely an artillery duel”.

He did not anticipate major movement of the front lines in the near term, but said that “the conditions are being set for which side has military advantage at the front line. The Russian military is in a better position at the moment.”

Mr Reynold continued: “When we see one side or the other being in a position to move the front line, at some stage, manoeuvre will be restored to the battlefield. Not in the next few weeks, maybe not even in the next few months. But it will happen,” he told The Associated Press.

Pentagon spokeswomon Sabrina Singh, at a briefing with reporters yesterday, also acknowledged Russia’s recent battlefield gains, noting that a delay in congressional approval for additional spending “set the Ukrainians back”.

NATO chief Mr Stoltenberg, stressed that more weapons and ammunition for Ukraine were on the way, including Patriot missile systems to defend against heavy Russian barrages that smash into the power grid and urban areas.

Ukrainian officials say Russia is assembling forces for a major summer offensive, even if its troops are making only incremental gains at the moment.

The Kremlin’s forces are closing in on the strategically important hilltop town of Chasiv Yar, whose capture would be an important step forward into the Donetsk region.

Donetsk and Luhansk form much of the industrial Donbas region, which has been gripped by separatist fighting since 2014, and which Putin has set as a primary objective of the Russian invasion. Russia illegally annexed areas of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions in September 2022.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “NATO chief admits sluggish support for Ukraine gives Putin chance to turn the screw”
  1. Isn’t it concerning that NATO countries have been sluggish in providing necessary support to Ukraine, giving Putin the chance to advance further? What consequences could this have on the ongoing conflict?

    1. It is indeed worrying that NATO’s slow support for Ukraine is enabling Putin to make progress. The consequences of this delay could be significant in escalating the conflict.

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