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Stoltenberg: West must be prepared for 'decades-long confrontation' with Russia

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 10, 2024 11:24 AM 2 min read
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addresses a press conference at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on Oct. 11, 2023. (Simon Wohlfahrt/AFP via Getty Images)
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The West does not seek war with Russia, but should still "prepare ourselves for a confrontation that could last decades," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag in an interview published on Feb. 10.

Officials from NATO countries have voiced growing concerns about the alliance's lack of preparedness for a conflict with Russia since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Lieutenant Admiral Rob Bauer, the chair of the NATO Military Committee, said in January that civilians in NATO countries should be ready for the prospect of an all-out war with Russia within the next 20 years.

The possibility of direct conflict with Russia is likely dependent on the outcome of the war in Ukraine, Western officials have said.

"If (Russian President Vladimir) Putin wins in Ukraine, there is no guarantee that Russian aggression will not spread to other countries," Stoltenberg warned.

NATO must improve its military capabilities, Stoltenberg said, adding that "deterrence only works if it is credible."

Russia's economy is increasingly on a war footing, Stoltenberg said, and NATO should do more to keep up.

"We need to restore and expand our industrial base more quickly so that we can increase deliveries to Ukraine and replenish our own stocks," Stoltenberg said.

British lawmakers caution that UK military remains unprepared for all-out war
U.K. generals have criticized the hollowing out of the country’s military in recent decades, pointing to a decrease of almost 30,000 service members from the standing army, including reservists, to a current total of 73,000 soldiers.
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