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Stoltenberg: 'Ukrainians exceed expectations again and again'

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 31, 2023 9:46 AM 2 min read
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a press conference ahead of the annual NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 10, 2023. (Photo: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN on Aug. 30 that it is "even more important" to support Ukraine as its forces push through heavily defended Russian-occupied territory.

"It's a tough fight, and there is no easy way to victory," he told CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour.

Nonetheless, Ukrainian troops are "gradually gaining ground," and able to push back Russian forces.

"What we have seen is that Ukrainians have exceeded expectations again and again," Stoltenberg added, referencing the liberation of Russian-occupied territories around Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Kherson last year.

The NATO Secretary General was being questioned by CNN about the progress of Ukraine's counteroffensive in the south.

While NATO allies can provide military aid, training, and advice, Stoltenberg said he believes that Ukraine's commanders on the ground are the only people who can make the "difficult and tough decisions" needed for the counteroffensive to succeed.

"We need to trust them," he said.

Stoltenberg also told CNN that he would not continue to serve as Secretary General of NATO after his extended term ends in October 2024.

The former Norwegian Prime Minister was elected Secretary General of NATO in October 2014. His official term is supposed to end next month, however, NATO members have been unable to agree on Stoltenberg's successor.

Stoltenberg later confirmed that he would serve an extended term as Secretary General of NATO until October 2024.

As counteroffensive presses forward in southeast, ‘every meter costs a life’
Editor’s note: The Kyiv Independent is not disclosing the soldiers interviewed in the story by their full names due to security concerns amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. The article also contains photos that some readers may find disturbing. DONETSK OBLAST – Twenty-nine-year-old assault company com…

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