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Ukraine war could last ‘years’, NATO chief warns

1. Ukraine
A Ukrainian soldier walks along an entrenched position on the front line near Avdiivka, Donetsk region on June 18, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo: AFP)
KYIV — NATO’s chief warned that the war in Ukraine could last “for years” as President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed Sunday that his forces would not give up the south of the country to Russia after his first visit to the frontline there.اضافة اعلان

Ukraine said it had also repulsed fresh attacks by Russian forces on the eastern front, where there have been weeks of fierce battles as Moscow tries to seize the industrial Donbas region.

While Ukraine remained defiant, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Western countries must be ready to offer long-term support to Kyiv during a grinding war.

“We must be prepared for this to last for years,” Stoltenberg told German daily newspaper Bild.

“We must not weaken in our support of Ukraine, even if the costs are high — not only in terms of military support but also because of rising energy and food prices.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a similar warning, urging sustained support for Kyiv or risk “the greatest victory for aggression” since World War II.

“Time is now the vital factor,” Johnson wrote in an article for the Sunday Times after making his second visit to Kyiv, calling for the West to ensure Ukraine has the “strategic endurance to survive and eventually prevail”.

Russian forces have directed their firepower at the east and south of Ukraine in recent weeks since failing in their bid to take the capital Kyiv after the lightning February 24 invasion.

Zelensky made a rare trip outside Kyiv Saturday to the hold-out Black Sea city of Mykolaiv, and visited troops nearby and in the neighboring Odessa region for the first time since the Russian invasion.

“We will not give away the south to anyone, we will return everything that’s ours and the sea will be Ukrainian and safe,” he said in a video posted on Telegram as he made his way back to Kyiv.

He said he talked with troops and police during his visit.

“Their mood is confident, and looking into their eyes it is obvious that they all do not doubt our victory,” he said.

But Zelensky admitted that losses were “significant”, adding: “Many houses were destroyed, civilian logistics were disrupted, there are many social issues.”

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