According to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Western allies are still deliberating over the possible delivery of war tanks to Ukraine. At the same time, in an interview with Portal on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stoltenberg reiterated his call for more heavy weapons to be made available to Ukraine. A “significant increase” is needed.
“Putin is preparing for a long war”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has given no indication that he is in favor of peace. “Therefore, he must realize that he cannot win on the battlefield.” It is a “decisive moment of war”.
Consequently, NATO does not expect the Russian war of aggression to end anytime soon. “Putin is preparing for a long war,” Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana said today at the start of a two-day meeting of the Military Committee of the Western Defense Alliance.
“We have to be prepared for the long road”
Putin has already deployed more than 200,000 additional troops, is ramping up weapons production, and is also acquiring more weapons from authoritarian regimes like Iran. “We have to be prepared for a long road,” said Geoana. “2023 will be a difficult year and we must support Ukraine as long as necessary.”
Military Committee chairman Admiral Rob Bauer opened the meeting by calling it a “sacred duty” to always be prepared to expect the unexpected. It is also crucial to honestly inform political leadership about strengths and weaknesses. “Today, modern warfare is as much about bits and robots as it is about mud and blood,” said the Dutchman.
New financial commitments expected from members
In order to reinforce NATO’s capabilities in the face of the situation, Geoana estimates that it is now necessary to expand industrial capacities for the production of weapons and ammunition and to make better use of new technologies such as artificial intelligence. It is also important to invest even more in defense. The 2 percent target set nearly a decade ago is increasingly being seen as a floor rather than a ceiling for defense spending, he said. Alliance members would need to continue to make progress and make new commitments beyond 2024.
The current 2% target requires all NATO countries to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product (GDP) on defense by 2024. In line with the wishes of many Allies, it will be replaced by a new target in the next regular summit in July.
At the meeting of NATO’s supreme military body, topics such as the ongoing reinforcement of the eastern flank and the military situation in Ukraine will be discussed until tomorrow. Participants include chiefs of staff from member states.