British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called on Ukraine’s western allies to lend long-term support to the country and warned of the consequences of a possible Russian victory. In an op-ed for The Sunday Times newspaper, Johnson wrote that Kiev’s supporters must ensure that Ukraine “has the strategic endurance to survive and eventually win”.
“Time is of the essence now,” Johnson wrote in his article published online late Saturday night. Everything will now depend on “whether Ukraine strengthens its defense capability faster than Russia renews its attack capability.” The task of the allies is “to ensure that time plays for Ukraine”.
In his contribution, Johnson formulated a four-point plan for “sustainable financial and technical assistance” for Ukraine. Parts of it should be kept “for the coming years” and possibly strengthened.
Johnson expressly warned against permanently accepting Russian territorial gains in Ukraine. Allowing Russian President Vladimir Putin to do this will not make the world any more peaceful. Johnson wrote verbatim: “Such a farce would be the greatest victory for an aggressor in Europe since World War II.”
Johnson made a surprise visit to Ukraine on Friday and met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. According to the British government, he offered a “major training program for the Ukrainian armed forces” in Kyiv.
According to this, British forces could “train up to 10,000 (Ukrainian) soldiers every 120 days”. award candidate for membership.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called on the member states of the military alliance not to let up in their support for Ukraine. “We have to prepare for the fact that it could take years,” said Stoltenberg in an interview with “Bild am Sonntag” with a view to the Russian war of aggression. “We must not let up in supporting Ukraine.”
Rising energy and food prices as a result of the Russian war of aggression are “no comparison to the price that Ukrainians have to pay every day with many lives”. If Russian President Vladimir Putin learns from the war “that he can simply carry on as he did after the 2008 war in Georgia and the occupation of Crimea in 2014”, then the NATO states would pay “a much higher price”.
However, Stoltenberg also emphasized that the western defense alliance would not intervene in the fighting. “NATO will continue to support Ukraine in its self-defense, but is not part of the conflict,” he said. “We are helping the country, but we will not send NATO soldiers to Ukraine.”
According to the Secretary General, at the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of the month, the alliance will declare “that Russia is no longer a partner, but a threat to our security, to peace and stability.” China’s rise is also “a challenge to our interests, our values and our security”.
Stoltenberg expects that further Western arms deliveries could decisively change the course of the war. With more “modern weapons” increases the probability “that Ukraine can drive Putin’s troops out of the Donbass again.”
The governor of the Ukrainian Donbass sub-region of Luhansk, Serhiy Hajday, warned of a further escalation of Russian warfare in the region and asked the West for additional weapons. “It’s good that the West is helping us, but it’s too late,” Hajdaj told AFP in an interview. In view of the Russian attacks, there are “no longer any safe places” in the Luhansk region.
Hajdaj called for the supply of “long-range” weapons that must “arrive quickly”. He warned that Russian units could encircle the city of Lysychansk by cutting off supplies from access roads. “It’s theoretically possible. This is a war, anything can happen,” Hajdaj told AFP.
Fighting in the war is currently concentrated in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region. The situation is particularly dramatic in the strategically important city of Sievjerodonetsk in Luhansk, where the Russian army has been bombing the Azot chemical plant for days. According to Ukrainian sources, there are hundreds of civilians there. The Ukrainian army is currently firing on Russian units from neighboring Lysychansk.
Conditions for civilians in Lysychansk are devastating. There is no cellphone reception in the city, nor access to water and electricity. The remaining civilians cook with campfires and take shelter in basement rooms.
According to Hajdaj, “around ten percent” of the residents are still in the city. “We try to persuade people to leave the city. But some just refuse,” he said.
Hajdaj also admitted that there is a “small proportion” of residents in the Luhansk region who hope that Moscow will build a “Russian world” there. President Volodymyr Zelensky, who had just been elected at the time, had appointed Hajdaj, who was born in Sievjerodonetsk, as governor in 2019.