By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen
UTOEYA, Norway (Reuters) – NATO members are working closely with defense companies to ensure Ukraine gets more weapons and equipment to be prepared for the long term in its war with Russia, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.
“We offer a lot of support, but we still need to do more and be prepared for the long term,” Stoltenberg told Reuters in an interview.
“That’s why we are now also in close contact and working closely with the defense industry to produce more and provide more of different types of ammunition, weapons and capabilities,” he said.
In recent months, the United States and other Western countries have begun shipping more advanced conventional weapon systems to Ukraine, including high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) that offer greater range and precision.
Stoltenberg separately said in a speech in Norway on Thursday to local Labor party activists that the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”, had created the most dangerous moment for Europe since World War II and that Russia could not be allowed to win.
He also accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “reckless and dangerous” rhetoric about the possible use of nuclear weapons.
Although NATO members are not directly involved in the war, NATO is closely involved in coordinating the Western response to the invasion.
Stoltenberg reiterated his position that the war would probably only end after negotiations.
“We know that most wars end at the negotiating table. We also know that the outcome of those negotiations will depend entirely on the strength on the battlefield,” he told Reuters.
“It is not for me to tell Ukraine exactly what those conditions should be. It is for me and NATO to support them to strengthen their hands, so we maximize the chance of an acceptable solution,” echoed similar comments that he made in June.
The war has led previously non-aligned Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership, with the request so far ratified by 23 of the 30 member states, including the United States.
“This is the fastest accession protocol in NATO’s modern history. I expect the other seven remaining allies to do the same,” Stoltenberg said.
He said Turkey’s demand for the extradition of terrorism suspects from Sweden and Finland should be decided by courts in the two Scandinavian countries.
“The rule of law applies in Finland and Sweden,” Stoltenberg said.
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Writing by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Susan Fenton)