| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

NATO: Ukraine is still inflicting heavy losses on Russia

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg affirmed on Monday that Ukraine continues to inflict “significant losses” on Russia, even though Kyiv has not yet regained control over the territories it lost.

Stoltenberg stated, “Of course, we want them to liberate as much territory as possible and as quickly as possible, but despite the front line not moving much, the Ukrainians have managed to inflict significant losses on the Russian invaders.”

According to Stoltenberg, “We see large numbers of casualties, and some of the fiercest fighting we have witnessed in the entire war has occurred in the past weeks and months.”

“We need to distinguish between the fact that the front line is not moving much and the fact that there is already intense fighting taking place,” he added.

The Secretary-General insisted that while Ukrainian forces are not currently making any progress, Kyiv has already reclaimed 50% of the territory occupied by Russia since the invasion.

He explained, “This is a significant victory for Ukraine,” pointing out that “Russia is weaker politically, economically, and militarily.”

Supporters of Ukraine, including the United States, emphasize their readiness to continue supporting Kyiv militarily and financially as long as it takes to defeat Russia.

Stoltenberg referred to recent commitments of military aid to Ukraine from both Germany and the Netherlands, totaling 10 billion euros ($11 billion), as evidence that Western support is not diminishing.

Stoltenberg played down concerns that any decrease in weapon shipments to Ukraine would force Kyiv to sit at the negotiating table with Russian President Vladimir Putin before being ready.

He emphasized, “It is up to Ukraine to decide what acceptable ways there are to end this war.”

“Our responsibility is to support Ukraine and enable it to liberate as much territory as possible and position itself in the best way when or if negotiations begin,” he added.

Foreign ministers of NATO member countries are meeting in Brussels on Tuesday with the aim of reassuring Kyiv about the support provided to it, despite the distraction caused by Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza.

Stoltenberg pointed out that NATO member countries have sent advanced weapon systems to Ukraine to assist its progress, and efforts are underway to better link how Kyiv uses technology such as drones and the internet in the offensive.

According to Stoltenberg, “I am entirely sure that the message from NATO allies in this meeting (…) is that we need to stand by Ukraine.”

He added, “It is in our security interest that President Putin does not win in this war.”


  • AFP