According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance must ready itself for a possible decades-long confrontation with Russia.
He made the remarks ahead of an important NATO defense ministerial meeting in Brussels on 15 February, one week before the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. A key focus of the talks will be Ukraine’s defense needs.
“NATO does not seek war with Russia,” Stoltenberg told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. “But we need to brace ourselves for a potentially prolonged standoff spanning years or decades.”
The Secretary General also warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin is reorienting his country’s economy to sustain a lengthy war footing.
Stoltenberg cautioned that if Putin wins in Ukraine, Russian aggression could spread to other neighboring states. He argued the best deterrent is supporting Ukraine militarily while expanding NATO defense capabilities.
“Deterrence only works if it is credible,” he emphasized.
The NATO chief urged Europe to accelerate the restoration and expansion of its industrial base to ramp up supplies to Ukraine and replenish member states’ own stockpiles.
“This means switching from slow production in times of peace to the rapid production needed in conflicts,” Stoltenberg argued.
To that end, he advocated quicker contracts for European defense manufacturers.