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Russia is gaining the upper hand in Ukraine, warns Norwegian intelligence chief

Russia is gaining the advantage in the war in Ukraine, thanks to its larger number of troops and weapons supplied by China, North Korea and other countries, Norwegian intelligence services warned on Monday.

Presenting his annual risk report with other Norwegian security services, head of the military intelligence unit Nils Andreas Stensones said kyiv would need “significant” Western military aid to turn the tide.

“In this war, Russia is currently in a stronger position than it was a year ago and is gaining the advantage,” Stensones told reporters.

He said that Russia “could mobilize about three times as many troops as Ukraine,” that “Moscow is handling sanctions better than expected” and that its industry is now able to produce enough munitions, combat vehicles, drones and missiles to allow its troops to “maintain their war”. effort all year round.”

Russia also receives military support from North Korea, Iran, Belarus and China, Stensones added, stressing that China had not provided weapons but “machines, vehicles, electronic components and spare parts” needed by Moscow’s arms industry.

“Significant Western arms assistance would be necessary for Ukrainian forces to be able to defend themselves and regain the initiative in the conflict,” Stensones said.

Alongside Denmark and the Netherlands, Norway has agreed to provide Ukraine with the F-16 fighter jets requested by kyiv from its allies.

“Norway and Europe must be prepared to take more responsibility for ensuring their own security and that of their allies,” said Norwegian Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram.

The United States has been kyiv’s largest military donor since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, but the US Congress has so far failed to agree on further aid.

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