NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg anticipates that the ongoing conflict in Ukraine will last longer than many hope, according to an interview with Funke Mediengruppe.
Stoltenberg stated that while everyone desires a swift resolution, the reality is that if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian people cease fighting, their country will cease to exist.
On the other hand, if Russian President Vladimir Putin lays down arms, peace will ensue.
Stoltenberg emphasized that most wars last longer than initially expected. He pointed out that the cessation of hostilities from either side would have significant consequences.
If Ukraine stops fighting, it risks losing its sovereignty, while if Russia stops, peace could be achieved.
The NATO chief also highlighted the need for security guarantees for Ukraine in the post-conflict period to prevent history from repeating itself.
He expressed no doubt that Ukraine would eventually become a NATO member, reiterating his support for Ukraine's long-term accession to the alliance.
Stoltenberg also called on Germany to significantly increase its defense spending.
He reminded that during the Cold War era, defense expenditures were between three to four percent of the GDP. He expects many allies to exceed the current minimum target of two percent of GDP set at the NATO summit in Vilnius.