Brussels, Sep 7 (EFE).- Ukrainian forces are gaining ground against Russian troops despite the fact that Kyiv’s counteroffensive is not progressing as quickly as expected, the Nato secretary-general said Thursday.
Jens Stoltenberg, who took part in a joint session of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defense, was addressing Members of European Parliament (MEPs) in Brussels.
“The Ukrainians decided to launch the offensive because they are going to liberate the land,” the Norwegian politician said. “And they are making progress. Not perhaps as much as we hoped for, but they are gaining ground gradually.”
“When the Ukrainians are gaining ground, the Russians are losing ground,” Stoltenberg continued, pointing out that Kyiv’s forces had made significant progress since the start of the war.
“The starting point is that the Russian army used to be the second strongest in the world. And now the Russian army is the second strongest in Ukraine,” the Nato chief said.
Stoltenberg explained that the slow pace of Ukraine’s counteroffensive was down to multiple layers of defensive lines, trenches, tank obstacles and “huge amounts of mines” left by the Russians.
“Hardly any time in history, we have seen more mines on the battlefield and mercy in Ukraine today. So it was obvious that this was going to be extremely difficult,” he said.
Stoltenberg also reaffirmed the alliance’s support for Ukraine, highlighting that Nato supports Kyiv “not only in good times but also bad times.”
“We support them when they win and if they lose, we are there with Ukraine,” he said, because supporting Kyiv is “a necessity to ensure that we preserve peace for our members, for our countries and to ensure that authoritarian regimes don’t achieve what they want by violating international law and using military force.” EFE