'Putin must not win' says Stoltenberg following Putin's state-of-the-nation address

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By Euronews  with AP
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, left, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg address a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, left, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg address a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023   -  Copyright  AP Photo

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg and European officials have urged members of the military alliance and EU member states to continue supplying ammunition to Ukraine to help defeat invading Russian forces.

Speaking at a news conference with the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell and Ukraine's Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Stoltenberg said the world’s most prominent security organisation will set up a scheme to help the war-torn country get the supplies it needs.

Stoltenberg maintained that "no one is attacking Russia" and warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin "is preparing for more war".

"Putin must not win," said Stoltenberg after voicing concerns that China may be planning to provide lethal support to Russia.

His comments came hours after Putin's state-of-the-nation address in Moscow in which he gave no indication that he would change his strategy as the war approaches its one-year anniversary.

Putin declared that Moscow would suspend its participation in the so-called New START Treaty, a deal signed in 2010 by the US and Russia which caps the number of long-range nuclear warheads the two sides can deploy and limits the use of missiles that can carry atomic weapons.

Putin denied any wrongdoing, even as the Kremlin’s forces in Ukraine strike civilian targets, including hospitals, and are widely accused of war crimes. 

On the ground in Ukraine on Tuesday, grinding battles and shelling attacks continued in the east and the south of the country. At least six people were killed over the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s presidential office reported Tuesday morning.

"With today's decision on New START, the entire arms control architecture has been dismantled," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

“We have agreed that NATO should assist Ukraine to develop a procurement system that is effective, transparent and accountable,” Stoltenberg said. He said a panel of experts would meet soon to discuss how best to proceed.

“Key capabilities must reach Ukraine before Russia can seize the momentum,” he said.

Dmytro Kuleba said “not enough has been done and this is why we’re standing here" when asked if he thought Ukraine’s Western partners were acting quickly enough.

But he noted that “no one expected this war would last so long. Therefore, at a certain moment, the situation was reached when it became apparent that production has to be rolled out.” 

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Putin's decision to suspend its participation in the treaty as "unfortunate and irresponsible". However, he said the US remains ready to talk about strategic arms limitations "at any time".

Speaking to the press during his visit to Athens, Blinken said his country "will be watching very closely what Russia does".