NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated this Sunday that the Atlantic Alliance must prepare for a long war in Ukraine and insisted that allies must increase their defense spending.
“Most wars last longer than we think when they start. That is why we must prepare for a long war in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said in statements to the German media group Funke.
Stoltenberg said that while a quick peace was desirable, it must be remembered that “if Ukrainians stopped fighting, Ukraine would cease to exist.”
Peace, according to Stoltenberg, will only come when Russian President Vladimir Putin stops attacking Ukraine.
After peace, Stoltenberg said, Ukraine will need security guarantees and “there is no doubt” that the country will be part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
On the other hand, Stoltenberg insisted on the need for NATO members to increase military spending and meet the objective of dedicating at least 2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defense.
Germany is one of the countries that has not yet achieved this goal, but the NATO leader stressed that it is “on the right path.”
“In times of the Cold War, when Willy Brandt or Konrad Adenauer governed, defense spending was around 4% of GDP. For NATO, it is important that the most populous European member country meets the objective, 2% of a large cake is more than 2% of a cupcake,” he added.
Stoltenberg said that, having been Norwegian prime minister, he knows how difficult it is to increase defense spending when large expenditures also have to be made on health or infrastructure, but he stressed that this is necessary when tensions rise.
NATO military officials are meeting from Friday to today in Oslo, the Norwegian capital.
The eastern flank is the one that worries NATO the most, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
But several countries that make up the organization, including Portugal, have insisted on the need to also look at the southern flank, more specifically at Africa, where Wagner’s Russian mercenaries operate and given the deterioration of the geopolitical situation in the Sahel, the scenario of several military coups since 2020, the most recent in Niger.