In an interview published by German media on Saturday, NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, called on Europe to increase its arms production to support Ukraine and prevent potential long-term confrontation with Moscow.
Stoltenberg emphasized the need to reconstitute and expand the industrial base to bolster deliveries to Ukraine and replenish NATO’s own stocks.
Stoltenberg’s remarks come ahead of a crucial meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels and mark the second anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine war.
The NATO chief stressed the urgency of shifting from peacetime to high-tempo conflict production amid growing pleas from Ukraine for military assistance against Russian forces.
Western leaders, including Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Joe Biden, have echoed calls for greater assistance to Ukraine. Biden described the failure of the US Congress to support Ukraine as close to criminal neglect during a meeting with Scholz in the Oval Office.
Stoltenberg emphasized that while there is no imminent military threat against any ally, regular threats from the Kremlin against NATO countries underscore the importance of protecting alliance members.
He warned that peace in Europe cannot be taken for granted, citing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.
NATO, he said, does not seek war with Russia but must prepare for potential decades of confrontation. Stoltenberg highlighted the alliance’s increased presence in the eastern part of NATO and stressed the importance of supporting Ukraine now to prevent further Russian aggression.
NATO defense ministers are set to convene in Brussels on February 15, ahead of the second anniversary of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. The meeting will include discussions within the Ukraine Defense Contact Group as a key agenda item.