While reiterating NATO’s support for Ukraine, the bloc’s chief claimed that Russia is losing influence in the near abroad, becoming “much more dependent on China,” and mortgaging its future to Beijing.
“Ukraine has prevailed as a sovereign, independent democratic nation,” Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Brussels after meeting with the bloc’s counterparts on the sidelines of a two-day NATO-Ukraine Council meeting that concluded on Wednesday.
“This is a significant achievement, a significant victory. Russia has retreated as Ukraine has advanced. It is now weaker politically, militarily, and economically,” Stoltenberg said.
He claimed that Russia suffered significant military losses, with “hundreds of aircraft, thousands of tanks, and more than 300,000 casualties.”
He added that Russia is “losing influence in its near abroad, not only in Ukraine but (also) in the Caucasus and Central Asia.”
It is becoming “much more dependent on China,” and “mortgaging its future to Beijing,” according to NATO chief.
Stoltenberg added that allies “agree that Ukraine will become a member of NATO.”
Earlier, NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels on Tuesday for a two-day meeting, with the agenda centered on the Ukrainian conflict and other global issues.
The meeting was held at the ministerial level for the first time and was also attended by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
Earlier, during a joint news conference with Stoltenberg, Kuleba said Ukraine is “pretty much becoming a de facto NATO army.”
Conflict in Mideast
When asked about the Middle East situation and the Israeli-Hamas conflict that began on Oct. 7, Stoltenberg welcomed the extension of the humanitarian pause, hoping that the conditions would be in place for a further extension of the pause in hostilities.
He also emphasized the importance of adhering to international law, says “Humanitarian law applies to all conflicts.”
Qatar announced an agreement late Monday to extend an initial four-day humanitarian pause in fighting between Israel and Hamas for two more days.
Israel launched a massive military campaign in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7.
It has since killed over 15,000 people, including 6,150 children and 4,000 women, according to health authorities in the enclave.
Source : aa