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NATO chief warns war in Ukraine could last ‘years’

The NATO chief has warned that the war in Ukraine could last “for years”, as President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed on Sunday that his forces would not abandon the south of the country to Russia after visiting the frontline there. down. Ukraine said it also repelled fresh attacks by Russian forces on the eastern front, rocked by weeks of fierce battles as Moscow tried to seize the industrial region of Donbass. As Ukraine remained defiant, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged Western countries to be ready to offer long-term military, political and economic support to Kyiv during a bitter war. “We have to be prepared for this to last for years,” Stoltenberg told German daily Bild. “We must not falter in our support for Ukraine, even though the costs are high, not only in terms of military support, but also due to rising energy and food prices.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a similar warning, calling for sustained support for Kyiv or risk “the greatest victory of aggression” since World War II. “Time is now the vital factor,” Johnson wrote in a Sunday Times article after his second visit to Kyiv, calling on the West to ensure Ukraine has “the strategic stamina to survive and ultimately carry”. Ukraine has repeatedly urged Western countries to step up arms shipments since the Feb. 24 invasion, despite Russian warnings that it could trigger a wider conflict. – ‘The mood is confident’ – Zelensky made a rare trip outside Kyiv to the Black Sea city of Mykolaiv on Saturday and visited troops near and in the neighboring Odessa region for the first times since the Russian invasion. “We will not give the south to anyone, we will return everything that belongs to us and the sea will be Ukrainian and safe,” he said in a video posted on Telegram as he returned to Kyiv. He said he spoke with soldiers and police during his visit. “Their mood is confident, and looking into their eyes, it’s obvious they’re not all doubting our victory,” he said. But Zelensky admitted the losses were “significant”, adding: “Many houses have been destroyed, civilian logistics have been disrupted, there are many social problems”. The Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday it had launched missile strikes in the past 24 hours, with a Kalibr missile attack on a high-level Ukrainian military meeting near the town of Dnipro killing “more than 50 generals and officers “. He said he also targeted a building housing Western-delivered weapons in Mykolaiv, destroying “ten 155mm howitzers and about 20 armored vehicles supplied by the West to the Kyiv regime in the last ten days”, he said. said the Russian Defense Ministry. There has been no independent verification of the claims. Mykolaiv is a key target for Russia as it lies on the way to the strategic port of Odessa. As Russia maintains a blockade of Odessa that has trapped grain supplies and threatens a global food crisis, Odessa residents have turned their attention to rallying the home front effort. “Every day, including weekends, I come to make camouflage nets for the army,” Natalia Pinchenkova, 49, said behind a large Union flag, in thanks to Britain for its support for Ukraine. – ‘Hero’ – The war in Ukraine is fueling not only a global food crisis, but also an energy crisis. Germany announced emergency measures on Sunday, including increased use of coal to meet its energy needs after a drop in Russian gas supplies. Hit by punitive sanctions, Moscow has increased the pressure on European economies by sharply cutting gas supplies, which has driven up energy prices. Italy’s Eni has meanwhile joined a huge Qatari project to expand production from the world’s largest natural gas field, days after Russia cut deliveries to Italy. Back in Kyiv, thousands of people gathered to pay their respects to a young man, Roman Ratushny, a figurehead of Ukraine’s pro-European Maidan movement, who was killed fighting Russians in the east of the country in the early of the month at the age of just 24. In front of the coffin draped with a yellow and blue Ukrainian flag at the foot of a monument which overlooks the vast Independence Square in the capital, people of all ages saluted his memory. “I think it’s important to be here because he’s a hero of Ukraine and we have to remember him,” 17-year-old high school student Dmytro Ostrovsky told UKTN. This loss puts a human face on the shared grief of Ukrainians, as the bloodshed continues. The worst of the fighting continues to unfold in the eastern industrial region of Donbass, with fighting raging in villages outside the city of Severodonetsk, which Russia has been trying to seize for weeks. “There is an expression: prepare for the worst and the best will come by itself,” the governor of the eastern Lugansk region, Sergiy Gaiday, told UKTN in an interview from the Ukrainian-controlled city of Lysychansk. , across the river from Severodonetsk. “Of course we have to be prepared,” he said, dressed in a bulletproof vest and carrying pistol cartridges and a tourniquet. Ukraine’s armed forces said on Sunday they had repelled Russian attacks on villages near Severodonetsk. “Our units repelled the assault in the Toshkivka area,” the Ukrainian military said on Facebook, adding that Russian forces were also “storming” the village of Orikhove. burs-dk/har

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