NATO warns of protracted war in Ukraine as Russian attacks follow EU pressure for Kyiv

Nato Warns Of Protracted War In Ukraine As Russian Attacks Follow Eu Pressure For Kyiv

The war in Ukraine could last for years, the NATO chief said on Sunday, as Russia stepped up its attacks after the European Union recommended that Kyiv become a candidate to join the bloc.

Jens Stoltenberg said supplying Ukrainian troops with state-of-the-art weapons would increase the chance of freeing the eastern Donbass region from Russian control, the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag said.

“We have to be prepared for the fact that it could take years. We must not give up on supporting Ukraine,” said the secretary general of the military alliance Stoltenberg.

“Even if the costs are high, not just for military support, but also for rising energy and food prices.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who visited Kyiv on Friday, also spoke of the need to prepare for a long war.

This meant ensuring that “Ukraine receives weapons, equipment, ammunition and training faster than the invader,” Johnson wrote in an op-ed in London’s Sunday Times.

Smoke Rises Over The City After Recent Bombing From The Ukraine-Russia War In Donetsk, Ukraine, June 18, 2022.
Smoke rises over the city after recent bombing from the Ukraine-Russia war in Donetsk, Ukraine, June 18, 2022.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

“Time is of the essence,” he wrote. “It will all depend on whether Ukraine can strengthen its ability to defend its soil faster than Russia can renew its attack capability.”

Ukraine received a significant boost on Friday when the European Commission recommended candidate status, a decision EU countries are expected to endorse at a summit this week.

That would put Ukraine on track to achieve a goal that seemed unattainable before Russia’s February 24 invasion, even if accession could take years.


Russian attacks on Ukraine’s battlefields have intensified.

The industrial city of Sievierodonetsk, one of the main targets of Moscow’s push to take full control of Luhansk – one of the two Donbass provinces – has once again faced heavy artillery and rockets, the Ukrainian military said.

“The situation in Sievierodonetsk is very difficult,” said Serhiy Gaidai, Ukraine-appointed governor of Luhansk, adding that Russian forces, which use drones for aerial reconnaissance, would quickly adjust their attacks in response to changes in defense.

A Tram Depot Is Destroyed By A Russian Missile Attack As Russia'S Attack On Ukraine Continues On June 18, 2022 In Kharkiv, Ukraine.
A tram depot is destroyed by a Russian missile attack as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues on June 18, 2022 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

“Areas near the bridges were again bombed,” Gaidai said in an online post on Sunday, adding that the Azot chemical factory, where hundreds of people took shelter, was hit twice.

“The fight for full control of the city continues,” the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a daily update on Sunday.

Analysts at the Washington Institute for War Studies’ research institute wrote that “Russian forces will likely be able to take Sievierodonetsk in the coming weeks, but at the cost of concentrating most of their available forces in this small area.”

In Sievierodonetsk’s sister city Lysychansk, across the river, the bodies of two civilians were found, Gaidai said, adding: “The destruction of housing in the city is increasing like an avalanche.”

The Ukrainian military admitted that “the enemy in the village of Metolkine”, southeast of Sievierodonetsk, was partially successful.

Russian state news agency TASS said many Ukrainian militants had surrendered in Metolkine, citing a source who works for Russian-backed separatists.

Russian rockets hit a gas factory in the northwest Izyum district, and Russian rockets raining down on a suburb of Kharkiv, the second-largest city, hit a municipal building, causing a fire but no casualties, Ukrainian officials said.

They reported shelling further west in Poltava and Dnipropetrovsk and said on Saturday that three Russian missiles had destroyed a fuel depot in the city of Novomoskovsk, injuring 11 people.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of Donetsk, the other province of Donbass, said one civilian was killed and 11 wounded in a bombing on Saturday.

A Local Resident Examines A Destroyed Tram Depot In Kharkiv, Ukraine.
A local resident examines a destroyed tram depot in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine’s Armed Forces General Staff said Russian troops on a reconnaissance mission near the town of Krasnopillya were repulsed with heavy casualties on Saturday.

Reuters could not independently confirm the battlefield reports.

Two senior fighter commanders defending the Azovstal Steel Plant in the southeastern port of Mariupol have been transferred to Russia for investigation, TASS said.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose resistance inspired his people and won respect around the world, said he visited soldiers on the southern front in the Mykolayiv region, about 340 miles south of Kyiv.

“I spoke to our supporters – the military, the police, the National Guard,” he said in a video on the Telegram news app on Sunday, which appeared to have been taken away on a moving train.

“Your mood is safe: none of you doubts our victory,” Zelenskyy said. “We will not give the South to anyone, and everything that is ours we will take back.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Visits A Ukrainian Military Position In Southern Ukraine On June 18, 2022.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits a Ukrainian military position in southern Ukraine on June 18, 2022.

Another video showed Zelensky in his khaki T-shirt, presenting medals and posing for selfies with soldiers.

Zelenskyy has mostly been in Kyiv since the Russian invasion, although he has made unannounced visits to Kharkiv and two eastern cities near battles in recent weeks.

One of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated goals when he ordered troops into Ukraine was to halt the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance and keep Moscow’s southern neighbors out of the West’s sphere of influence.

But the war, which killed thousands, reduced cities to rubble and forced millions to flee, had the opposite effect – it convinced Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership – and helped pave the way for the EU – to pave the way for Ukraine’s candidacy. for membership. NATO warns of long war in Ukraine as Russian attacks follow EU pressure for Kyiv

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