Brussels (Times Of Ocean)- NATO’s top official said the war may last years even though Moscow has shifted its focus to the east of the country.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says Russia still wants “all of Ukraine.”
As NATO foreign ministers meet in Brussels to discuss the war in Ukraine, the UK’s top diplomat told them “the age of engagement with Russia is over.”
Stoltenberg stressed the possibility of a long-term war since Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to control all parts of Ukraine.
He also thanked the United States for imposing sanctions on Russia, bolstering defense capabilities in Europe, and supporting Ukraine.
NATO chief also emphasized ‘so first of all, this war must end now. And President Putin can end it by withdrawing his troops and forces and stop attacking independent, sovereign, country Ukraine, and sit down in good faith and to find a political solution.’
He continued ‘but at the same time, we have to be realistic and realise that this may last for a long time, for many months, for even years.’
Meanwhile, Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers Tuesday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could not stopped without presence of US forces, and warned that the conflict will most likely continue for years to come
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the conquest of Ukraine had been a “long-standing objective” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Candidly, short of the commitment of US forces into Ukraine proper, I am not sure he was deterrable,” Milley told the House Armed Services Committee while testifying alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. “This has been a long-term objective of his that goes back years. I think the idea of deterring Putin from invading Ukraine — deterring him by the United States — would have required the use of US military forces and would have risked armed conflict with Russia, which I wouldn’t advise.”
Milly’s admission contradicted the Biden administration’s rhetoric about the purpose of sanctions against Russia prior to the Feb. 24 invasion.
On Feb 22, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, “Sanctions are not an end in themselves.” They have a higher purpose. It is to deter and prevent. They are aimed at preventing and deterring a large-scale invasion of Ukraine that could include the seizure of key cities, such as Kyiv.”
When asked by Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) how long he thought the war could last, Milley responded that it was “hard to tell.”
“It’s a bit early, still. Even though we’re a month-plus into the war, there is much of the ground war left in Ukraine,” he added. “But I do think this is a very protracted conflict, and I think it’s at least measured in years. I don’t know about a decade, but at least years for sure.”
“This is a very extended conflict that Russia has initiated,” Milley went on, “and I think that NATO, the United States, Ukraine and all of the allies and partners that are supporting Ukraine are going to be involved in this for quite some time.”
Milley said Russia’s invasion had “created a dangerous, historical turning point.”
Russian leaders have very provocative rhetoric regarding Russia’s nuclear force alert levels, despite the sanctions rocking Russia’s economy. According to Milley, Moscow “retains a large and varied nuclear capability to threaten the United States and our allies.”
Several days after approving the invasion, Putin placed his country’s nuclear weapons on high alert, citing the West’s “aggressive statements” in defense of Ukraine.
“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country,” Putin said in remarks carried on state television on Feb. 27.
According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Russia has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons – nearly 6,000 warheads, including missiles capable of striking the US mainland.
As a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Milley said that the US and China are facing “two global powers, each with significant military capabilities, both intending to fundamentally alter the rules-based global order.”
As Milley had stated, Austin described China and Russia as the two biggest threats to US security, in that order.
“The People’s Republic of China [PRC] is the department’s pacing challenge due to its coercive and increasingly aggressive efforts to refashion the Indo-Pacific region and the international system to suit its interests and preferences,” Austin told the House panel.
Beijing has modernized all aspects of the People’s Liberation Army, including its nuclear capabilities, to counter US military advantages, said the secretary.
“The PRC seeks to fragment US alliances and security partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, and the PRC’s leaders hope to leverage their economic influence and the PLA’s growing military strength to coerce China’s neighbors and threaten their vital national interests,” Austin said.
Milley stated in his prepared remarks that China is “actively watching” the events in Ukraine with the intention of “weakening the US and our allies who support Ukraine.”
He emphasized that war with China is not inevitable.
” The PRC is clearly a strategic competitor, and it continues to improve its technology and modernization of its armed forces,” Milley said. “It is imperative that we keep our relationship with the PRC a competition and not allow it to become a conflict.”