NATO’s secretary general warned on Friday that Russia’s war in Ukraine could turn into a wider war with the Atlantic alliance.
The official, Jens Stoltenberg, repeatedly warned in media interviews this week against underestimating the situation in Ukraine and pointed to the broader threat that Russian President Vladimir V. Putin could pose to Europe.
“If things go wrong, they can go wrong,” Mr. Stoltenberg said in an interview published Friday with Norwegian journalist Anne Lindmo, in which he added that there was “no doubt” that a war on a large scale against NATO was a “real possibility”.
“I understand anyone who is tired of supporting Ukraine. I understand anyone who thinks food prices and electricity bills are way too high,” he said. “But we have to pay a much higher price if our freedom and peace are threatened by Putin’s victory in Ukraine.”
Mr Stoltenberg’s comments came two days after he said Russia was intentionally delaying the war to prepare for another attack on Ukrainian forces next year.
“What we’re seeing now is that Russia is actually trying to have a kind of ‘freeze’ on this war, at least for a short time, so they can regroup, fix, recover, and then try to launch a bigger offensive next spring,” he told the Financial Times on Wednesday.
The NATO chief stressed the importance of continued military support for Ukraine, saying Russia had shown no sign of willingness to engage in peace talks that would respect Ukraine’s sovereignty. Ukraine. But he declined to answer when asked if NATO member countries should agree to supply more advanced long-range offensive armaments – something NATO allies, including the United States, have said. avoided inviting a direct confrontation with Russia.
The US State Department reiterated after drone strikes hit Russian military bases this week that it does not allow or encourage Ukraine to strike beyond its borders.
The Pentagon continued to provide other forms of security assistance to Kyiv and on Friday announced a new aid package worth $275 million including additional HIMARS munitions, air defense equipment and about 150 generators for the worsening Ukrainian winter.